The Unsolved Death Of Kendrick Johnson (2013) - Shreya Sachdev
DISCLAIMER: No disrespect is intended towards anyone that I talk about on this blog post. This blog post is for educational purposes and is being posted on this website in order to raise awareness about this case and to truly hope that the grieving families and friends of these victims find closure and finally find out what happened to their loved one(s). I have gathered all this information on the internet, but unfortunately I do not know how accurate or inaccurate it is. If I have made a mistake somewhere, then I apologize. It is not my intention to spread false information.
Kendrick Johnson was a 17 year old boy who died on January 11th 2013. He was found in a rolled up gym mat in Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia. He was found in an inverted position with his hands behind him faced down. In the high school that Kendrick attended, they had an old gym and they had a new gym. In the old gym, there had a whole bunch of gym mats that were six feet tall and three feet wide. Many children would use them to score their folders and books so that they wouldn’t have to pay for lockers, Kendrick was one of these kids.
On the 10th of January at around 1:00pm, surveillance footage shows Kendrick walking inside the old gym, and shows that nobody followed him inside the gym for another three minutes. However, it is important to point out that the two security cameras that were looked at may have been tampered with as some people believe that a lot of the security footage is actually missing since it looked as if there had been pieces cut out. Along with this, it has been confirmed that one security camera was missing an hour of footage and that the other camera was missing two full hours of footage on that specific day. After this footage of Kendrick walking into the gym at 1:00pm, he was marked absent from his next class and he didn’t come home later that night. When Kendrick didn’t come home that night, Kendrick’s mother, Jackie, decided to go to the school to see if he was still there or maybe he was locked out. Unfortunately, she did not find him. At midnight, she called the police, but the police didn’t take it so seriously and thought that he must be with a girl as he was young and 17. Jackie decided to take matters into her own hands and the next morning she went straight to the school to talk to the receptionist about her missing son. Everyone soon started putting up flyers to see if anyone had seen or heard from Kendrick. This is when she found out that her son’s body had been found in one of the mats inside of the old gym. A group of students were sitting on one of the mats when they saw a sock sticking out from another mat, when they went to check the sock out they could smell the deposition of the body, saw blood and vomit, and realized that the body was that of Kendrick’s.
When Kendrick’s body was found, police immediately started an investigation and began to interview every single person that had been at the gym: they found that everybody’s stories lined up. Police also investigated the gym and found that Kendrick’s schoolbooks and shoes were next to the mat. Police found blood in the bathroom and inside the gym but it was confirmed that this blood wasn’t Kendrick’s. The only blood that was of Kendrick’s was the blood that was found inside of the mat itself. Later that night, the coroner determined that Kendrick’s death was an accident and that there was no foul play involved. The coroner believed that Kendrick went inside to get his shoe but then ended up getting stuck inside of the mat and thus died of asphyxiation. Kendrick’s parents immediately did not believe this at all and truly thought that their son had been murdered. They thought that it was impossible that Kendrick had simply just fallen in and died that way. Along with this, the security footage clearly shows people coming inside of the gym three minutes after Kendrick enters and so if Kendrick did get stuck then he would most likely be screaming for help, so it’s strange as to why nobody would help him.
Kendrick’s grandfather actually requested to see the body, but police wouldn’t let him. This was strange considering the fact that Georgia law clearly states that the victim’s family is allowed to see the victim’s body after 24 hours of the death if there is no foul play involved. Kendrick’s father also requested to see the body, but police again denied him permission which was extremely suspicious. Later on, Kendrick’s parents held a press conference to let everyone know that they were being denied of seeing their son’s body, which is when police finally gave them permission. Kendrick’s father describes seeing his son’s body as having blackened skin, swollen lips, bruises all over his body, short fingernails, scratches on his hands, and discoloration on his face. Overall, a lot of injuries on his body. There was then an autopsy done to see what had happened to Kendrick and the autopsy actually supported the coroner’s theory which stated that Kendrick did have an accidental death.
In June of 2014, the family asked another doctor to have a look at the body and the autopsy to see if they could find any evidence of foul play involved. When the body was examined again, they found that the body had been stuffed with newspaper whereas usually people stuff bodies with cotton. The second autopsy disputed the firs autopsy and the new doctor actually stated that Kendrick died from blunt force trauma to the neck. The family then submitted these findings to the United States Justice Department as well as the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Since this, the Johnson family have filed a wrongful law death suit Board of Education of Lowndes County as well as the principal and the superintendent. The letter spoke about these two students named Bryan and Brandon Bell (Brandon is the older brother and Bryan is the younger brother) who had continuously bullied their son and said very mean things to their son even in front of teachers who did nothing about it. It has been said that Kendrick had a sexual relationship with Brandon’s girlfriend. Their father was an FBI agent named Rick Bell and immediately told them not to speak to anyone about the case. These two boys were the only people that hadn’t agreed to being interviewed by the police whereas everyone else had agreed. Police did take Brandon and Bryan’s phones to look through them, and didn’t find anything except for the fact that Bryan and Kendrick had indeed gotten into a physical fight two years before Kendrick’s death. It was later also said that Bryan was in class during the time of Kendrick’s death and that Brandon was actually out of the city (his bus was supposed to leave that day for a wrestling tournament). However, the strange thing about this is that it said his bus didn’t leave until 4:00pm but his coach’s phones said that they were in the other city around 2:00pm.
Which theory do I believe?
Wow, I’m honestly so torn. Okay, I know a lot of people are going to disagree with me on this, but I do think that Kendrick Johnson’s death was accidental. Don’t get me wrong, I do think that Bryan and Brandon are extremely suspicious people in this case, but I don’t believe that they had anything to do with the murder because their incident happened two years ago. Of course, it is true that there could have still been ongoing fights between the brothers and Kendrick, I still just don’t think that’s what happened. I do think it was accidental, and I think there’s a simply reason for that. If you look at it from the murderer’s point of view, then isn’t it a lot of trouble to put such a heavy guy inside of a mat like that? Considering the fact that you’ve killed him and that he can’t move, it’s a lot of work for one person or even two/three to move such a heavy guy like that and to place him inside of the hole of the mat. We’re also forgetting that this is a school gym, not a dark alley. The murderer would’ve known that people were going to be coming inside of the gym soon, and if they did stuff Kendrick’s body inside of this mat, then they knew it would’ve taken a long time. Why would they risk getting caught? I truly believe that Kendrick’s shoe fell into the back of the mat, and that Kendrick reached inside to grab it but then got stuck. Kendrick’s father did say that when he looked at Kendrick’s body, he had short fingernails. It is likely that Kendrick tried to rip the mat with his nails to try and get himself out, or used his nails in some way to help him. The only thing that goes against this is that I do find it strange that nobody came inside of the gym and heard him scream for help, but then again it’s possible that simply no one was inside of the gym at that time. As for the security footage, it’s possible that the footage itself got cut out due to a poor camera. I 100% believe that Kendrick Johnson had an accidental death.
Bibliography & Credit: Fiori, Bella, director. THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF KENDRICK JOHNSON. YouTube, YouTube, 2 Apr. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIKXRyVL0kI.