The parents of a South Georgia teen whose body was found rolled up in a gym mat five years ago will reportedly exhume his body a second time to prove his death was no accident.
The parents asked for and received permission to exhume the body of Kendrick Johnson at last Friday and they plan have a third autopsy conducted, Valdosta, Ga., City Manager Mark Barber confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Officials have maintained Johnson’s death was an accident, but his parents have felt differently.
The body of 17-year-old Johnson, a high school sophomore, was discovered at a Lowndes High School gymnasium on Jan. 11, 2013. State and local officials ruled Johnson suffocated after reaching for a pair of sneakers inside a mat and getting stuck.
Kendrick Johnson’s mother, Jackie Johnson, took to social media to lament the need for the exhumation, the Daily Mail reported.
“Lord to have to disturb his resting peace breaks my heart into so many pieces but it has to be done,” Jackie Johnson posted of her son on Facebook. “The worst part is to have to bury him a third time like another whole funeral and he’s leaving us again,” she wrote.
The Johnsons have maintained all along that they believe their son was murdered by the sons of a local FBI agent. They have alleged in civil lawsuits that a conspiracy and cover up included an FBI agent, a former sheriff and a school superintendent, according to the Journal-Constitution.
The Justice Department investigated and concluded in 2016 that there was no evidence to support that Johnson’s civil rights were violated or that a prosecutable crime was committed.
This would mark the third autopsy on Johnson’s body. In the first, conducted by the state of Georgia, the cause of death was listed as “accidental positional asphyxia.” A second autopsy ordered by the parents listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma.