Tuesday, August 9, 2022

What Happened to Kendrick Johnson – New Updates

Kendrick Johnson was like any other sports-loving teenager who aspired to finish his studies, played sports on the side, and dreamed of competing face to face with the biggest names in football. Unfortunately tragedy cut Kendrick’s life short, and what was initially ruled out as an accident slowly peeled away layers that revealed a more macabre outcome.

Kendrick Johnson in His Youth

kendrick-johnson-youngKendrick Lamar Johnson was born on October 10, 1995 to parents Kenneth and Jacquelyn “Jackie” Johnson in Valdosta, Georgia. He grew up with a passion for sports, good manners, and was described by his parents as the life of their house due to his jokester nature which persisted until his teenage years.  He was known to wake everyone up in the household and easily made a laugh out of many things, sometimes at the cost of annoying his older sister.

The sporty and cheerful lad enjoyed playing basketball and football, and running track. He consistently joined sports teams and his love for football made it clear that he dreamed of playing for the Florida Gators football team in college, and eventually to the NFL after graduation. He wasn’t a troublemaker; his parents never received any calls regarding disciplinary problems, and he ensured his grades weren’t compromised by his active sports life.

Kendrick’s mother described him as someone who preferred to stay at home with friends he’d known since his elementary and middle school days, only to seldom go outside to grab something to eat or to visit the mall. He never liked hanging out with his friends in other places.

He enrolled in Lowndes High School in Valdosta, which in recent years became a football powerhouse, where he continued his athletic ventures. Standing at 5’10 and weighing at around 160 pounds, Kendrick played as a power forward in basketball, an undersized yet physical safety in football, and ran on track with boundless stamina. He now liked two more college football teams namely the Ohio Bobcats, and the UNLV Rebels. He dreamed of following his football idols Jeremiah Ratliff and Randall Godfrey, both Lowndes alumni, to the NFL. His football team played with Valdosta High and competed with the state’s greatest football squads.

Kendrick Johnson Disappearance & Death

On January 10, 2013, Kendrick arrived at school in the morning. He attended his classes, laughed with his friends, it was another ordinary day.

That is until he stepped into the gymnasium at around 1:00 in the afternoon. After that, Kendrick vanished without a trace.

His mother became worried as Kendrick still wasn’t home at 10 in the evening. An hour before midnight she patrolled the school and, an hour later, she called the police where the dispatcher dismissed her saying that Kendrick might just be out with a girl. She refused to believe that as Kendrick never failed to call whenever he goes home late.

The following morning she went to the school and waited in the guidance counselor’s office. The latter was on the phone, and due to the loud volume she heard the other line say something about a body found in the gym.

Based on the incident report from the sheriff’s department, a girl saw two feet inside one of the cheerleading mats that were rolled up vertically. Philip Pieplow, the head athletic trainer, pushed the mat onto its sides and revealed the corpse of a young black male from the waist up, along with some blood and vomit. Several called 911, officers arrived, students were interviewed, and in the afternoon the local coroner, Bill Watson, was called. Six hours after the arrival of the first officers, Kendrick Johnson was officially declared dead.

That night the sheriff’s department stated that it was an accident, and that no foul play was involved. The detectives continued with the investigation and connected the facts into a theory. The sheriff’s version declared that Kendrick hid his sneakers in the mat (a common practice by students to avoid paying for lockers) and due to the holiday break the mats were moved along with his shoes. Kendrick had to reach into a rolled mat and fell into the opening. His body became stuck vertically, causing blood to rush to his head, and the tightness of the mat around his body acted like a cocoon which asphyxiated him.

That version failed to convince Kendrick’s parents. The mat’s 14-inch hole wasn’t wide enough to accommodate Kendrick’s 19-inch shoulders. Aside from that, if he did fall into the hole with outstretched arms, his legs should’ve stuck out of the opening as they were only at around six feet tall. His parents also argued that it was impossible that nobody heard Kendrick cry out for help, provided that the next class began 14 minutes after his last sighting at the gym. Students played basketball at the gym in the afternoon, and a practice of the color guard was held at night.

It was impossible that not even a single person heard Kendrick’s screams, and even more impossible that Kendrick didn’t exert any verbal effort in seeking rescue.

Another inconsistency in the investigative report was the teenager’s other pair of shoes. It was claimed that Kendrick reached for the shoes at the mat’s bottom, but they were stuck between him and the mat. It appeared as if the shoes fell after him.

Blood was also discovered 50 feet away from the mats. DNA tests confirmed that it wasn’t Kendrick’s, along with a statement from a color guard member who claimed that she was injured the same night Kendrick disappeared. The Johnsons saw the efforts in determining whose blood was it to be lackluster.

Kendrick’s parents connected their own pieces of the puzzle and came up with a theory of their own: their boy was murdered.

They found it odd that the coroner was summoned six hours after the officers arrived on the scene, contrary to Georgia’s law where authorities must immediately inform the coroner at the discovery of the body.  The local coroner Bill Watson himself expressed disappointment regarding that, saying that it was an unfair practice.

Eddie Tooley, the grandfather of Kendrick, came forward to see the body as the teenager’s father Kenneth was still on Pennsylvania. His request, however, was denied for reasons unknown despite Georgia law stating that a dead body must be released within 24 hours after a request was made unless foul play was officially suspected. The sheriff declared no trace of foul play and ruled Kendrick’s death as an accident. Eddie only managed to get a glimpse of his grandson’s body in a photograph, identified by his dreadlocks. Even when Kenneth Johnson got home the family was still denied access to the body. The father called for a press conference and spoke to the reporters about his wishes to see Kendrick’s body before it is moved to Macon for autopsy.

Eventually he was allowed access in the Valdosta-Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory. Kendrick’s body bore blackened skin, swollen lips, misshapen head, scratches on his hands, facial discoloration, and even clipped fingernails despite the fact that Kendrick always kept them long. The autopsy results supported the sheriff’s version of the story where the teenager suffocated with just minor tears and scratches. What Kenneth saw strongly contradicted the results.

After the autopsy in Macon, Kendrick’s body was returned to Valdosta. The one who transported the corpse, Steve Owens, signed an acknowledgement sheet which indicated three t-shirts, black shorts, a pair of pants, boxes, and two white socks that came along with the body. Georgia law states that the items found along with the body must be returned the family. Instead the Johnsons only received broken earphones. They believe that the clothing must’ve contained evidence that suggested physical resistance or at least DNA and the disappearance of the items just gave more weight to their theory.

Dissatisfied with the findings on the autopsy, the Johnsons had their boy’s body exhumed from the cemetery and sent to Florida for another autopsy and a second opinion. Dr. William Anderson, the pathologist who conducted the second autopsy, noted blunt force trauma to the right of the jaw and neck. The first autopsy only noted bruising on that same part. Also the injuries were close to the lower part of Kendrick’s brain stem, a location where physical trauma can easily incapacitate and kill a person.

Also, during this autopsy, Kendrick’s body was revealed to be stuffed full of paper. The funeral home that received his body mentioned that the organs were nowhere to be found, and the police said that the organs were discarded.

The Johnsons submitted Dr. Anderson’s autopsy results to the local coroner, the United States Department of Justice, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI). The GBI announced that they are satisfied with their own autopsy, while the Department of Justice reported that the case is still being reviewed and formal investigation has not yet been launched.  Eventually a federal investigation was launched by the U.S. Attorney Michael Moore ten months after Kendrick’s death but so far no findings have ever been released.

Following a court request by CNN, surveillance tapes from the cameras on the gym were released which contained 290 hours of footage. Grant Federicks, a forensic analyst, noted that two cameras have tapes with almost two hours worth of missing footage.  

Kendrick Johnson – The Aftermath

Kenneth and Jackie Johnson furiously worked to have their message heard, to reveal the truth of what happened to their son, and to put those responsible behind bars. They sat on chairs near the Lowndes County courthouse, and wore white shirts with the words I AM KENDRICK JOHNSON written in red. They gave away shirts with different slogans to their supporters who related or sympathized with their plight, and there are those who made fun of their struggle and even tried to convince them to let Kendrick rest in peace. They also use their son’s death picture to show the damage on his face that contradicts the fact that it was an accident.

A wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the Johnsons against the Board of Education of Lowndes County, along with its superintendent and the principal. It bore no names of those who were directly responsible, but instead pointed out the ignorance of the defendants to the reports that a white student harassed Kendrick multiple times, even in the presence of school staff.

brian-brandon-bell-kendrick-johnsonTwo students were named as possible suspects to Kendrick’s death by several articles published in Ebony Magazine. Even though the articles resorted to pseudonyms, their vivid descriptions of the students were accurate enough to identify who they were. An anonymous email sent to the sheriff’s department was the basis, which claimed that the younger of the two suspects planned Kendrick’s death after the latter’s sexual relations with the older suspect’s girlfriend. Their parents filed a lawsuit amounting to $5 million against the magazine as they were being harassed after the publication of the articles.

Kendrick Johnson’s Legacy in 2016

As Kendrick’s parents continue the fight for justice, circumstances have came and went that are both in and against their favor.

On April 2013 the parents, along with five other family members (who collectively named their group the KJ 7) formed a human barricade and blocked access to the Lowndes County Courthouse as part of their protest as they weren’t given cooperation by the sheriff’s department. They were informed to stop the act, but their refusal to oblige charged them with civil disobedience. In January 2015, they were handed a guilty verdict and slapped with a 12 month suspended sentence given that they don’t get arrested for the same charge again. The Johnson’s attorney, Chevene King, expressed disappointment as the family only sought to bring Kendrick’s injustice to light.

kendrick-johnson-nowOn the same month, in the DeKalb County Superior Court, the Johnsons filed a civil lawsuit against 38 people ranging FBI agent Rick Bell and his sons Brian and Branden, the Lowndes County school superintendent Wes Taylor, federal, local, and state officials, the crime lab of Valdosta-Lowndes, the Valdosta police chief, several deputies of the sheriff, the medical examiner of Georgia, the GBI and five of its agents, and the city of Valdosta itself. The lawsuit stems from the allegation that a girl lured Kendrick into the gymnasium where he was attacked and killed by Brian and Branden, at the orders of their father, and the rest were involved due to creating a conspiracy that ensured the murder was covered up. The Bells filed a countersuit in March, denying the accusations and claiming that the Johnsons spread defamatory messages on the internet.

Brian claimed that he was in class during Kendrick’s alleged murder while Branden was preparing for his trip to Macon with members of the wrestling team. Federal investigators seized the computers and other electronic gadgets of the Bell family as part of their investigation. The two brothers were also interviewed by WSB-TV Atlanta in August 2015 wherein they denied all accusations against them.

bridget@gazettereview.com'
Bridget Rogers
Bridget Rogers is an independent freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Bridget's work can be found on a variety of sources in both online and print media.
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90 COMMENTS

  1.  Hello Bridget, you are way out of the loop.

    The wrongful death lawsuit has been canceled by the family. All the lawyers for all the people who were named in that lawsuit are now filing for sanctions and legal fees. During depositions for that lawsuit family members under oath were unable to cite even one tiny piece of evidence to support their claims. Nearly 1000 “I don’t knows” were uttered by the family.

    Defendants filed requests for Summary judgement and sanctions. Had the Johnson’s lawyers allowed the court to open and consider those requests they would most certainly lost and have received sanctions for a frivolous lawsuit from the judge. Lawyers had no other choise to protect themselves but to withdraw a few days before the hearing. They chose to make the filing on the afternoon of the SEC Presidential Primary in hopes that the news would be buried.

    In your case, that worked.

    You also missed the resignation of Ben Crumbly, a nationally prominent lawyer for the Johnson’s, who left in October when he realized he could be part of sanctions. There is also the case of the missing reward money that was raised by the NAACP and Al Sharpton and given to the family, You also missed the mass resignations from the local NAACP when members realized their leadership was backing a murder hoax. In addition, 27 persons who participated in an alleged Twitter take down of Brian Bell that caused him to lose a scholarship to FSU have had supeonas filed for their DM’s and actual identities. Look for #KJ27 on Twitter for more.

    You also missed a major two day investigative story in the Atlanta Journal Constitution that concluded that the Johnson’s claims are a hoax. This story included a statement from a nationally prominent legal ethics scholar at Harvard who said that the federal investigation by former Federal Prosecutor Moore was an abuse of power and needed investigation itself. Moore resigned when a last ditch attempt to stop depositions in state court failed.

    There is also the SCLC Investigator who filed a lengthy story with the Valdosta Daily Times about the lawyers for KJ lying to legal fee donors about the case.

    Yes, you missed a lot. But, that is the least of your sins.

    There is your ludicrous assertion that it is impossible that no one heard Kendrick Johnson’s cries for help. He was upside down with his voice directed straight into the concrete and absorbed by several inches of thick foam that encased his body.  

    You left out that the release of the tapes required a judges order due to federal privacy laws and that, after multiple requests to the families lawyers to file resulted in nothing, the lawyers for Lowndes County filed for the release themselves. Meanwhile, the families lawyers made hay on CNN about the tapes not being released. Once released to the family, THEN, CNN had to file to get a copy of their own. Anyone can request a copy. YOU could get a copy if you asked the judge for it. LCHS is happy to let anyone see them once they are cleared of privacy concerns by a judge.

    Living in Valdosta, I am more than tired of seeing my town libeled by carpet baggers. I look forward to your stories when those accused by the Johnsons finally get their day in court.

    • Well written but YOU miss ONE BIG THING… a 160lb athletic teenager supposedly fell into a rolled up gym mat and dies…. give me a break. CNN DID have to request the footage to get it released. Independent professionals agreed the footage was tampered with and in the least selectively missing 2 hours of footage from certain cameras.

      I bet your voting for Trump.

      • Number one he didn’t fall he dove in there to get to his Air Jordans that were located at the very bottom about 6 feet down. He was 5’9″. The rolled up mat was in the center of a whole bunch of other rolled up mats so he was unable to knock his roll over or struggle his way back up.

        As has already been documented by an extensive survey you can read on line at the Valdosta Daily Times, the clocks on the different servers in the school were not synchronized. After unraveling the different times and different types of cameras, they found no issues.

        As for tampering those are ignorant claims based on the fact that some of the cameras only took a picture once a minute when motion was sensed. So, sometimes someone appears in frame and then does not. Video has been gone over by the GBI and the FBI and a federal investigation and no one has been invited yet or will be.

        The online video that you seem to be referencing has been thoroughly debunked and The creator will be tried for defamation, unless he defaults, which is likely.

        And, to show the value of your investigative powers I did not vote for Trump. My candidate was Ron Paul but he didn’t make it very far. I am a libertarian. I was also active in civil rights back in the 70s when a call from the KKK was a cause for concern. And I got a few of those as a reporter who covered civil rights.

        The murder hoaxers are using the current political civil rights climate as a cover in order to collect money from people who support the movement.

        • Never knew Al Sharpton was a credible investigator. What video shows Kendrick “diving” into a rolled up gym mat? I guess missing organs is normal, different autopsy results must be normal, and the fact that this was declared by local police as an accident on day 1?… drawing quick conclusions must be normal too…

          Any ideas why the federal investigation was transferred to Ohio?

          • Al Sharpton is an expert at protecting L Sharpton. He’s already had to pay a lot of money for defamation. That’s why he left town quickly .

            The police pretty much had this nailed the first day as it was not a difficult puzzle to figure out. Once they saw that the family was completely nuts, they called in the GBI and did a really thorough job of investigation. They spent the kind of money on this that you never see on a typical case.

            As I said in the earlier post, which you obviously did not read, the investigation was moved to Ohio to move all the records out of the Macon office. This was done because Mr. Moore did not trust his disaffected office staff in Macon to keep the record secret after he left He sent them for out-of-state to a friend who he trusted to keep them under seal.

          • There are a lot of loop holes in this crime such as why were the shoes he was wearing next to his feet instead of placed outside of the mats or even on him, or what about all that blood (not only was it too much to be positional asphyxiation but also the blood was next to the shoe he was supposedly reaching for instead of on it), or what about his organs (why did the police discard them instead of putting them back in his body like they said they did), or what about the items the family was suppose to receive instead they only got a pair of broken head phones, or what about the investigators who were at the sight first not wearing booties which are investigating 101 rules, or what about the size of him not even being able to fit inside the hole when the mats are rolled up, or what about the 3 boys (who were never even mentioned) in the video as Kendrick was about to walk into the gym. I’m sorry but there is just too much for anyone to tell me this was his own cause of death. For anyone to believe this was an accident needs to get better educated because a face doesn’t look like that just from asphyxiation. No one and I mean no one will and can ever change my mind on how I have investigated my own theory, so please do not try to give me any of that bull stuff on this case being an accident caused by stupidity.

          • Since I can’t tell her nothing, I’ll tell the rest of you. If ANY of this so called evidence was true then WHY didn’t the family bring it up in depositions? The reasons is that it costs about $900 to depose someone and the lawyer was going to have to bear the cost. He was not about to spend $900 to bring up already discredited theories just so the opposing attorneys could tear it all up on cross examination.

            So, if CV King didn’t think any of this was worth paying for to put it on the record, why are the rest of you taking it as gospel? If you believed so much, why didn’t you give Mr. King money so he could depose it in court?

            Those of us who have been holding up the actual facts have been vindicated at every step. We called the collapse of the federal investigation, we called the withdrawal of the case, and we called all the sanctions that are now being filed in court. Those who cling to the lying hoax that this was a murder have been right on nothing so far and it looks like they will continue to be wrong.

          • If at the beginning u stated people give money to the families with the sad cases then obviously people are helping the family pay for the evidence (that could be on trial) but u have no clue about because u are not involved with this case hands on. What she’s trying to say is how can anyone like u believe this is an easy open and shut case? So basically, u can’t explain her findings or u have no answers for them like u have had from previous responders. As for the shoes, investigate your findings again because there were his basketball shoes and his school shoes. His basketball shoe was the one under his head that he supposedly went for that had no apparent blood on them when they were directly under him, and then his “nice shoes” that so happened to jump in after him…lol. How do shoes end up right next to his feet when he took them off to get his basketball shoes? He walked in wearing his nice shoes by the way not his old shoes. So why would he take off a pair of shoes to put them back on again, but oops one fell into the mat now let me see if I can retrieve it while going into the mat instead of just lifting the mat to begin with? Cause people like u think he’s stupid enough to go through a mat to get a shoe instead of lifting the mat up to begin with and that’s why u believe this is an apparent easy and shut case. This suicide story they put in your head and others is the “hoax” which isn’t even the correct word to use in a situation like this cause it did happen. U don’t even have your facts straight so I don’t know how u came up with your findings. All u did was go with the “simpliest explanation” I guess. To educate u again, the family has not dismissed the trial. The trial is in motion and there will be justice for Kendrick and his family eventually and finally.

          • There is no trial in motion since the family withdrew on March 1st. There is no investigation in motion. Seeing that the original frivolous lawsuit has generated motions for fees and sanctions of nearly $1 Million against the family and legal team, I doubt the family will ever find a lawyer willing to bring it again.

            If any of the lies, silly stories, and accusations that you and others have brought forth were actually true family in the world team would have use them in a trial. Since they were true only course was to quit and withdrawal. Which they have now done.

          • For one, her and I never made any stories up. For two, we’re just trying to understand how u and others believe this boys death was a freak accident. But please spare me ur details again because we already went there, and plus I’m done with this conversation anyways.

          • I have read all the highly credible reports from the GBI and Lowndes County Sheriffs Office. There is nothing to believe here: it is cold hard fact. I have studied science on and off for 40/50 years and so I know what these things look like.

            Another fact is that the family’s story has changed over time while the conclusions of the investigation have remained rocksolid.

            For instance, at first the family blamed gangs for his death. That resulted in lots of death threats from the local gangs towards the family. All of a sudden the story changed and it was the Bells who did it.

          • Racist butt FBI agent covering for his son’s evilness. They will rot in hell. I hope they see Kendricks face every time they go to sleep

          • The Johnson family has already admitted in court filings that the Bell family had nothing to do with their son’s death.

            The Bells are actively suing persons who perpetuate that libel online. I would strongly suggest that you not libel others online as courts have become more inclined to punish people who engage in it.

            If the messaging system allows it, you should delete that tweet for your own protection.

          • These pieces of stuff did kill him. All of you racist pieces of stuff will see no wrong in this. The young man was killed, stop making excuses. God sees all you Devils.

          • Thank you for self-identifying yourself as a delusional, racist, and gullible human being. Spouting off like that does you no favors.

            Facts are facts. If the family possessed any facts, they would’ve used them in court. All they said was, “I don’t know” over 1000 times in one afternoon.

            If you actually possessed facts that could be of use in a court of law then why didn’t you hand them over to the family?

            You didn’t because you don’t. All you’re good for is spouting febrile gibberish.

          • Are you serious? So, you honestly believe that the only liars are the Johnson family? Like, it’s not possible for police to lie? Do you honestly think that facts, against a racist town, will hold up in court? I mean, let’s have a REAL conversation here and look at things with open minds. I’ve considered the fact that this was an accident. however, certain things just don’t add up.
            Prime example; did you see the video of the White cop who shot the black guy in the back as he ran away? the VIDEO is clear as day and it shows that the cop’s life was not in danger, yet, he claims he felt absolute fear. And guess what? His trial ended in a mistrial. HOW? Yu know why? It’s because some people are pro cops no mater what. Some people are pro Whites, no matter what. Put the two together (White cop) and there is no way in the world a Black man can win. I guarantee you, if a black cop shoots a White man in the back as he’s running AWAY from him, he would be found guilty in a matter of minutes.

          • How so? PLEASE explain that to me. How was anything I said racist? To things I am NOT are a liar and a racist. But please, explain to me how ANYTHING I said was racist.

          • Are you serious? You called their reports “credible”? You’re assuming that those White people in that racist town are 100% honest. Let’s be real, seriously. If you don’t want to get in trouble for something you did, you lied about the evidence. You hide the evidence. You deflect any real evidence that may expose your lie.
            Are you familiar with the Emmett Till story? If not, please go and familiarize yourself with the story in its entirety and see the cover-up, lie, trial, acquittal and final admission of the crime AFTER the acquittal.

            Go research some serial killers (Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, etc.), people we KNOW are guilty, and see how they lied to cover up their crimes. It just so happens that the criminals in this case are the law enforcers, the very ones who are supposed to serve and protect us. I guess maybe that’s why you’re having a hard time believing the cover-up story because you put so much trust in PEOPLE, especially racist people.
            A freak accident this was NOT. I could give you a ton of reasonable doubts, but you just don’t want to open your mind up to the possibility of this actually being murder. Kendrick’s shoulders were too wide for him to even fit in the hole of the rolled up mat, which means, someone rolled him in the mat after they beat him. And, yes, he was beaten. Look at his face. I know they claimed his face looked like that because of being upside down, but LOOK at his face. His lips were swollen. and the blunt force trauma that was the actual cause of death; was the blunt force the AIR inside of the rolled up mat? Why wasn’t the ME called immediately, as is protocol? You don’t think that MAYBE it was so that the cops could “get their story straight”? When interviewed, one of the Bell brothers said he didn’t even know Kendrick, when, in fact, they were on the football and wrestling trams together. Actually, he and Kenfrick had had a fight, which Kendrick won, and the Bell boys’ father “invited” Kendrick to come to their house to finish what had been started. It’s reported that they harassed Kendrick so much that he quit the football team. It was said that one of the Bell boys wasn’t at school on the day that Kendrick disappeared. However, there’s footage of him in the very hallway that Kendrick was seen entering the gym from. Also, at one point of the video, the Bell boy had on different clothing. WHY? It was said that the wrestling tram were on their way to a tournament at the time of Kendrick’s disappearance, when, in fact, Kendrick (who was on the wrestling team) and at least two other team members were seen on video in the lunch line (the Bell boy was also on the wrestling team), which means, the team HADN’T left for the tournament. And, yes, the boys seen on video were signed in at the tournament, so it’s not like they were left behind. Why was there an hour or so worth of video footage missing on the day o Kendrick’s disappearance, but the video seemed to work just fine before and after his death? There was a report that there was a man on video who entered the gym in the middle of the night. Why? I think to actually plant the body. I don’t think Kendrick was actually beaten and killed in the gym. I think he was lured away and then his body was planted there.
            It could be that the family’s story has changed over time because, as they keep digging for evidence and answers, different facts pop up. For instance, they could have believed at first that he was beaten and killed in the gym. However, after seeing the gym footage of before and after the death, they realized, like I did, that there seems to be too much activity going on in the gym on a daily basis at any given time, for anything that drastic to have taken place without being noticed. But, no matter what, it all leads to the Bell boys. And I’ve NEVER heard the family suspected a gang’s involvement. From the very beginning, it was always the Bell brothers.

          • Why didn’t the shoe that he was supposedly reaching for covered in blood? The blood beneath the shoe was covered in blood, so the shoe should have been soaked, as well. It was said that Brian Bell wasn’t at school at the time that KJ was last seen walking into the gym. It’s said that the wrestling team was on a bus, headed to a tournament. Well, there is footage of Brian Bell crossing the very hall that KJ was last seen in and he was seen crossing MORE THAN ONCE. There is also footage of KJ (who was ALSO a member of the wrestling team) along with at least two other wrestling team members in the lunch line at the time the bus is said to have been away from the school. That means, THEY’RE LYING! Brian Bell and the rest of the wrestling team were still at the school, having lunch before leaving for the tournament. KJ’s shoulders were too wide for him to dive, squeeze, slip, etc. into the hole of that rolled up mat. I don’t care how much a fat person tries to dive in the hole of a doughnut, IT AIN’T HAPPENING! And what about the blunt force trauma to the side of the neck that was found ont he second autopsy? THAT is what’s reported as the real cause of death. What was inside of that mat to cause blunt force? Air? The coroner wasn’t called for over six hours, which is against the law. He gave an interview about it. Later, he called the station that he interviewed with and asked them not to air the interview, but the station aired it anyway. Hmmmmmmm. . .that tells me that someone whispered in his ear and tried to hush him up. And let’s not forget that KJ’s parents are BLACK and fighting a racist system in GEORGIA. Just because they have pulled back,that doesn’t mean that they’re doing it because they want to. They’re being forced to do so. They are wrestling against strong arm of justice. I would think that this was murder even if KJ were White. The evidence doesn’t match up with the BS they have tried to shove down our throats.

          • Lets not forget that Kendrick was also no fool- for everyone to “accept” the notion that this intelligent gifted man would put his shoes in a place that was only accessible by diving into a ROLLED up mat is LUDICROUS. First of all the mats are not made of steel – he was an ATHLETE he could have moved it to the side to gain access to it ( IF in fact it was ever put there by him) which i also struggle to believe. Either way….to expect anyone to believe that he dived into a rolled up mat -that he could easily have picked up or pushed aside or moved to get his shoe is absolutely stupid and an insult not only to him his family but the PUBLIC. If anyone thinks i’m going to believe this BS story they better smarten up and change their mind QUICK SMART!!

          • The rolled up mats were located next to bleachers. He walked up the bleachers till he was even with the tops of the rolled up mats and then crawled over. I’m not making things up here, just quoting the GBI report.

          • You may be quoting the “GBI” report, but just because someone said it’s 9:00 a.m. doesn’t make it so. What I mean is, people can say anything; just because they said it, doesn’t mean it’s factual. Of course, if there’s a cover up, the reports will have lies and inconsistencies on them. I just can’t believe that people can be so gullible. My apologies if I offend anyone because that’s totally not my intention. But, I”M offended that these people expect us to believe CRAP when the circumstances don’t match the CRAP that they’re feeding us. They know there’s nothing Kendrick’s parents can do to fight a long-standing racist system, so they feel like they can ell them whatever they want to. I believe in my heart that this was murder, the two sons of the FBI agent were involve and there is a cover-up to protect the FBI agent’s sons, especially since the sons are White and the victim was Black. Let’s stop pretending that racism doesn’t exist, especially in Georgia.

          • If the teen could NOT wiggle DOWN far enough to become trapped in the thick wrestling matt, how much harder would it have been for the already DEAD teen to be pushed down the entrance without the aid of lubricants.
            Think it over.

        • They weren’t “Air Jordans” First of all and now that we got that out of the way… So a 5ft.9 teenager “DOVE” into a 6ft. Mat? Gtf outta here! IGNORANCE IS BLISS

          • He had two pairs of shoes. Regular shoes that he wore home and fancy shoes that he wore only away from home. The fancy ones were in the roll up. He took off the old shoes and then crawled straight down. He got stuck. The simplest explanation is most likely the correct one. All other explainations that have been put forth have been crushed by the investigation. IF that was not the case, then WHY has the family dismissed the case? Cause they can’t prove it.

          • I live in Valdosta. I read the GBI report. Which is more than you have done. It’s a hoax put on by the family. You’ve come in real late to the story with their big hook stuck in your jaw. Lotsa people just like you out there, show up, demonstrate ignorance, then slink away to delete comments and tweets once it becomes really obvious. Save yourself the trouble, time, and self-mortification: slink away today.

          • I warned you that the potential for making a fool of yourself was high.

            Three major investigations have been conducted and finished. The GBI and the FBI both found it to be an accident. A review by a special master in the DOJ found nothing wrong in those investigations.

            The only person to have a contrary opinion was an opinion for hire examiner who has since been disbarred and no longer allowed to be a professional witness. It is a pity because he concluded that a thumb sized bruise was a cause of death – it would have been fun to watch him be laughed out of court for that one.

            There is plenty of evidence for a finding of an accident. Pages and pages and pages. There are also plenty of gullible fools like yourself ready to bite down on hoax bait.

            Aug 22 is the date the judge will rule on how much the Johnson’s will owe in legal fees for bringing a frivolous lawsuit. If you are really such a true believer, you need to go donate to their fund me : they are going to need it.

          • There is zero evidence of an accident. Go ahead and show us the video of KJ reaching the mats all by himself. You, like most people are full of zilch.

          • He died of positional asphasia. He was stuck in an upside down position and died. Pictures of him doing it are not required.

            All of these things you toss around have been proved of no worth by three investigations — including the one ordered by Eric Holder at the DOJ.

            AND if these things you mention proved that KJ was killed, then his family would have used them at trial and avoided the heavy sanctions that are coming.

            Both of them sat there in a courtroom with the chance to prove their case during depositions and all they could say was “I don’t know” and “I don’t have any evidence”. NOW, because they have no proof of their allegations, they are on the brink of being sanctioned for nearly $850k in lawyers fees.

            Give it up, dude, no one in Valdosta is buying any of this.

          • And then I put on my invisibility cloak and snuck him into the gym. If you look closely at the video you’ll see Hermione, Ron, and the tooth fairy.

          • You kid, but there is video evidence that someone went into the gym during the night of KJ’s disappearance.

          • At this point, the KJ believers are down to two hate groups, a few felons, close family, and you. There used to be thousands before they realized they were being had.

            In this post, your misuse of the word except when you meant accept (in a sentence doubting my intelligence) was very amusing – and telling.

          • I was also an unbeliever. It just did NOT seem plausible. Google a YouTube video: “Kendrick Johnson Death Scene Video” It is taken on 1/11/13 at the high school in the gym. It walks you from the outside to the corner of the gym where the mats were. The coach who found him testified that he pulled down all the mats you will see in this video — including the one that holds KJ. Warning: the video IS graphic as it shows you how is body slid out the bottom of the mat. The pictures you see all over the Internet is of the mat horizontal after they found him — not vertical. It suggest that if he slid out the bottom, he crawled in from the top. The video also suggests that he could not have been rolled up in the mat due to foul play if the mat was unforgiving (soft spongy vs. hard foamy). Any assailant would have needed a whole lot more time than 14 minutes to assault him, move mats, roll him up, place his mat against the wall then move the other mats to cover his w/o out being seen by students, faculty or staff. They would have also had to wipe the floors clean. It was a complex event that no teen could have been that excellent at covering up while enraged.

          • I haven’t seen any evidence this was an accident. The authorities provided no evidence of an accident outside of the autopsy report calling it accidental. Had this death been a real accident you can be certain the video of KJ going to the mats would’ve been released and the case closed soon thereafter. None of what’s taken place would’ve been possible if the video really proved KJ was consumed by a gym mat.

          • Fact of the matter is no one can prove foul play either! In fact, lack of evidence led to the accident verdict. Not ONE student in the gym has come forth to counter the verdict and the two students who KJ’s parents & lawyers accuse of foul play had alibis from teachers, students, coaches, event planners, etc. One is seen on school cameras in a class during the incident. A whole lot of Black AND white adults and teens would have to keep their lie straight for 3 years. If anything, the video I directed you to confirms that it was an accident otherwise investigators could point at obvious things like an unbolted door nearest the “crime scene,” blood on the floor and on other mats. Instead, KJs yellow folder, his books and everything he had on his person prior to stepping into the gym were within the area including his cell phone and headsets, which was still in his hand when he was found. Even if the FBI father were involved, he would have had to go to great lengths and work with more than 2 people to assault KJ, render him unconscious, roll him up in a mat and cover their tracks in 14 minutes, on a school campus during the day. Who is THAT talented?

            It IS very possible to be able to scale down a mat and not be able to scale back up if other mats that are heavier are positioned together. The most obvious evidence that speaks to the incident is KJ’s body came out the bottom of the mat as the mat was lowered. If he was rolled up in the mat, his body would have remained in the same position and investigators would have had to roll or cut him out of the mat. Otherwise, gravity and the size of the hole meant that even if KJ was forced in head first, he had no way of getting out. There would be evidence of an assault b/c someone his height would not have voluntarily opted to be lowered/rolled into a mat for fun.

          • The video that would be prove it was a homicide was never released because it was a homicide. That is simple logic. The second autopsy proved it was a homicide and the bruising on the neck is visible in one autopsy photograph. Go ahead and provide every single person who was in the gym when KJ entered and point us to those interviews. No evidence of an accident has ever surfaced besides an anomalous AR.

          • I’m not the one who needs to be convinced it was a homicide. KJ has been dead for nearly four years now and NONE of the kids have come forward to say otherwise. Second autopsy is negligible and so is the need for video that does not exist. The only thing that is clear is that they’ve not been able to shore up the evidence you’re demanding. What’s at stake now, for those who are alive, is a defamation lawsuit that’s nearly $1 million. Unless you have the provisions to foot the bill for the Johnsons to keep accusing various people of murder, who had valid alibis, there’s no need for further discussion. Put money on this case until YOU help them prove homicide. Until then, case dismissed!

          • Untrue. People have come forth. for example, Dalton Ray Chauncey told police that the Bell brothers wanted to rough Kendrick up, but took things too far. Chauncey said he overheard them discussing their involvement. But, Chauncey was charged with lying because ‘they” want to protect the cover up. Another teen (Kendrick’s friend) said he received death threats and was told the same thing could happen to him.

          • At this point, it doesn’t matter what it’s called. Kendrick is dead and people have moved on. Parents ought to stop suing people without proof. That’s not to say I dismiss their hurt or don’t feel that someone COULD be liable (likely the school for the mats). It’s to say have some COMMON SENSE and don’t sue people you can’t afford to pay when they counter sue. It’s all very emotionally draining too. By now, some kid, would have admitted to something on social or via confessional. Until that info surfaces, this case is closed!

          • Nearly FIVE years have passed. You’ve not said anything anyone else hasn’t offered, yet the verdict hasn’t changed. Let THAT sink in … Unless you’re going to help the family w/court fees or camp out for Kendrick’s justice, move along. You’re preaching to a choir that’s already sung! Put your eyes+ ears on a current unsolved crime: Kenneka Jenkins (Martin)

          • It is like hypnosis. Keep saying it and maybe even you will believe it. Meanwhile, why don’t you go drop a few coins in the Johnson Family gofundme? They are going to need it.

          • You live in Valdosta. . .that explains your thought process. Sad. We’ll never advance.

          • The fact that I require facts and not ignorant fantasy from the street is not a sign of a backwards thought process, far from it. That you think it is backwards speaks volumes about your intellect and racism.

          • Marvel Goose, I won’t trade unpleasantries with you because it’s not worth it and it solves nothing. But I will say this, the fact that sound evidence can be presented to you and inconsistencies in the stories of the cops and the accused can be pointed out, yet you ignore them, speak volumes. You assume that all law enforcement are honest. You assume that there has never been cover up within a police department.

          • Ms. Brown. Every kind of guess, fantasy, and silliness has been proposed and shot down over the past two years. The most revealing part is where the family themselves are deposed under oath and asked directly about them and their answer is “I don’t know” and “I don’t have any evidence” mainly because they would be facing jail time for perjury if they tried to tell one of these tall tales you are spinning. You seem wedded to the fact that there was a police cover-up. Well, the Valdosta Police Department would have loved to have pinned something on the Lowndes Sheriff’s Dept when they were using the VPD lab to sort through some of the evidence. The GBI has been on bad terms with the LSO for years — think they wouldn’t have liked to have found something? Yes, they would. But they didn’t and no one has other than the usual internet trolls who watch too much CSI. I prefer good old empirical evidence. The hard stuff. The only party to supply this has been law enforcement. The legal team for the family has been caught in lie after lie by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (founded by MLK, Jr). The family has changed their story multiple times. Tellingly, they were originally blaming gang members for the death until they started getting death threats from gangs. This is when they spun on a dime to blame the Bell family. The legal team lied, the family lied, and the only group with a consistent take on the case has been law enforcement and their case was backed up by a legal investigation ordered up by Obama’s #1 man at the Justice Dept, Eric Holder. So, no, I am not some idiot from Valdosta, I pay attention to things and am always ready to change my mind if someone shows actual, hard, facts, So far, you have none.

          • Marvel, I, too, prefer evidence. But a lack of evidence doesn’t mean there is no crime. I watch a lot of REAL LIFE to know THAT. Furthermore, when you have the criminals investigating themselves, of course every possible explanation will be explained away. Yes, I do feel there is a police cover-up. If this is true, it won’t be the first time and it definitely won’t be the last. Unfortunately, police are just like the rest of us; you have the good as well as the bad. And whether you want to admit it or not (or maybe you’re just unaware), racism in GA is prevalent. No one cares that this Black boy lost his life. No one cares that Black parents are grieving the loss of their child. People say horrible, cruel things like, “The family just wants money,” as if Blacks are incapable of loving their children; as if they wouldn’t rather have their child alive and well.

            There are too many loose ends for me to accept that this was an accident. KJ’s face looked like Emmett Till’s face. Emmett was beaten. KJ’s organs were all missing and the skull and organ cabinets were stuffed with newspaper. The funeral home said they received his body that way, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (specifically, spokeswoman Sherry Lang) said when they released his body to the funeral home, all of his organs were intact. How do you explain the fact that the floor was covered with blood, but the shoe that Kendrick was supposedly reaching for barely had any blood droppings on it? The coroner told CNN that he wasn’t notified of KJ’s death until 3:45 p.m.. The body was discovered in the morning. He should have been notified immediately. He said information necessary for his report was withheld from him. He said he received no cooperation from law enforcement. He said the scene was compromised. Basically, he said he disapproved of the way the incident was handled. Oh, but later, he contacted CNN and asked them not to air his interview, but CNN aired it anyway. Hmmmmm. . .I wonder why he changed his tune all of a sudden?

            Why did the Bell boy lie and say he didn’t know KJ, when, in fact, they were on the football and wrestling teams together? They also had a fight while on a bus returning from a football game. Why was it said that the Bell boy wasn’t even at school that day, when, in fact, he’s seen on camera MORE THAN ONCE on the very hallway that KJ entered the gym from?

            I could go on and on about the things that just don’t make sense or haven’t been intelligently explained away. The bottom line is, until I can see concrete evidence that this was an accident, I will forever be suspicious. No one can tell me where did the blunt force trauma come from. . .was it the air inside of the rolled-up mat that KJ “climbed” into that hit him on the side of the neck?

            It’s quite possible that in the family’s search to find out what really happened, they simply keep coming up with different theories. It doesn’t mean that they are lying or “changing” their “story”. That’s quite common when investigating crimes.

            When you let the criminals investigate and govern themselves, you’re always going to come up with nothing. Police are human, just like we are, and are capable of committing crimes just as we all are.

          • I’m sorry ma’am, Marvel Goose is correct and you are incorrect.

            Let me tell you two things you are wrong about:
            1. Kendrick wasn’t on the wrestling team.
            2. Older brother was at school that day but left on a bus for a wrestling tournament BEFORE KJ was last seen on video entering the gym.

            I’ll save other things you are wrong about in case you want to discuss further.

          • Three investigations including one personally ordered by Obama’s right hand man and none of them show murder. None. Nada. Fiction is all you have left, doubting Thomas.

          • I can’t believe you really believe Kendrick crawl on tops of the mats and dive down one that had other pair of shoes. Yes, I do he was murder somewhere else and someone definitely roll his body into the mat.

          • Some people believe that men did not land on the moon. Regardless of their disbelief, it happened anyway. You are in much the same boat. Your belief system wants to see that Johnson was killed by some impossible conspiracy of evil white people. I would suggest that you need to reflect on yourself as to why you have an emotional need to believe all white people are evil and see if you can reconnect to reality.

        • Wow what an ignorant moron you are. Lets have a look at some of your ridiculous claims 1/ You claim that the mat that Kendrick’s body was found in was in the CENTER of all the other rolled up mats -HOW did Kendrick get to the center of all these mats without MOVING THEM??? Did he take a RUN UP and jump mid air and land perfectly inside the exact mat that his shoe was in??? OR would it be more reasonable to think that if his shoe was at the bottom of a VERTICAL mat in the CENTER of other mats he would physically MOVE THEM to ACCESS IT???? Or do you prefer your FLYING LEAP/ SUPERMAN theory!!!????

          • There were bleachers next to the rolled up mats. Walk up the bleachers, take off the shoes you are wearing (they were found on the bleachers) crawl out on top of the mats, and dive down the one that had the other pair of shoes. No super powers involved.

          • R.I.P KJ. and Prayers for the family.

            Marvel Goose, I admire your diligence and attention to details despite the hateful, racist, and off-the-wall remarks. You literally wrote a whole book to explain the disagreement that was further fanned by a few glitches(the missing organs and the security footage) and crooked media.

          • You’re definitely right! Marvel Goose please explain. How did Kendrick get to the center of all the other rolled up mats? Yes, I do believe he was murder?

        • I just want to know what happened to his face and organs since you seem to have all the answers I mean sounds like you were there to me

    • Here come the out of town crazies who have no clue. Local black people figured out this was a hoax a long time ago. BLM people keep getting sucked in… The saddest cases being the ones who give money.

  2. One thing you people seem to forget is this was a human being. A boy. Could have been my child or yours. If you want to turn a blind eye to it all then so be it. This just proves that evil exists. I don’t know the truth but I hope it comes out soon. I know that this was not an accident. But that their is more to the story. Their were more than one party involved in this and I hope all will pay. Maybe not now in this lifetime but on judgement day.

    • KJ was likable kid as are the two falsely accused brothers.

      If people are going to claim they were enemies than they are going to have to explain why KJ twitted one of the brothers wishing good luck in the upcoming Lowndes Vikings football playoff game.

      The Johnson parents have since withdrawn their lawsuits against the 30+ people and admitting in Civil Court depositions they have no evidence KJ was murdered.

      The Johnsons are being sued for hundreds of thousands dollars worth of attorney fees presently.

      Two DOJ attorney’s had the case have left the Federal system and moved on to private practice leaving it in the hands of a third DOJ attorney in Ohio.

      • Im sure all the family wants is the following:
        A clear report on when, how, and probable reasons why Kj died.
        And explanation on the delay of coroner.
        Any explanation on the delay of the viewing of the body.
        An explanation on the removal of the organs.
        A debate in court on the autopsy with a judge or jury to hear and decide.
        An explanation on the missing footage on tape.
        A follow up on the the Bells and what they and the school claim is their timeline which contradicts the video footage made available.
        A re opening of the case based on the fact that many of these questions were not addressed during the first investigation.

        What they did to the Bells though cannot at all be seen as just, unless one of them are ever proven guilty.

      • If you honestly believe that those people have no reason to believe that boy was murdered you have got to be utterly stupid very very gullible and completely oblivious to the world you live in or maybe you’re. Just not right in the head but either way it’s really sad that you think that he suffocated like did you see his face???

        • I have seen his face, I have many of the autopsy photos.

          When you clean off the vomit and blood from KJ he looked unremarkable like any corpse.

          Circumstance of his death are unusual but the Department of Justice headed by a black woman, Loretta Lynch (appointed by Obama) found no evidence KJ was murdered.

    • Yes, a boy died. Accidents happen. Had the Johnson’s accepted this they would have had the support of the community. Instead, they went on a rampage of false accusations and harmed many other innocent teenagers. There is no case. Here in Valdosta no one supports the family anymore and there are reports that even family have abandoned KJ’s mother on this.

      I do agree it is very sad. I do not agree that people should have their lives ruined over lies and accusations that KJ’s. Parents WILL NOT STATE IN COURT UNDER OATH. If it was all so true, why didn’t they say it instead of “I don’t know” over and over? Answer me that one.

      • How do you know these allegations against the Bell brothers are false? Were you there? You don’t know that the allegations are false anymore than I know the allegations are true. Please stop being so naive to the physical facts in this case.Whether the Bell brothers are guilty or not, SOMEONE killed Kendrick. Victor Blackwell of CNN reported that in the meddle of the night, a man was seen entering the gym. I have always thought that KJ was killed away from the school and he body was brought back to the gym where he was rolled up in that mat. By the way, his father attempted to squeeze into a rolled-up mat and he couldn’t do it. Kendrick’s shoulders were wider that his father’s so, I’m sorry, I’m not convinced that Kendrick was able to climb into the mat.

        These parents are STILL fighting for justice for their son. They just have to find a different way to fight. Let’s not forget, KJ’s parents are Black and they are fighting a racist system; one that may even being covering up for the sons of an FBI agent. Do you honestly think that’s so far-fetched? cover-ups happen. They are real.

        • I know the Bell allegations are false because the Kendrick Johnson family made a filing in court saying that they were taking the allegation back.

          Nothing like having the KJ family make your case for you. Maybe you should pay a little closer attention to what actually happens at court.

        • #2 Reason – In court, on the witness stand, under oath, both of KJ ‘s parents had no evidence to give about the Bell’s involvement. They also could not remember who it was that told them about the Bell’s.

          Because they had no evidence to back up their accusations , they are now facing sanctions of nearly $1 million for bringing a frivolous lawsuit.

          If they had evidence, don’t you think they would have brought it forth to save their own necks? Of course they would.

          Instead they are now facing a lifetime of poverty as most of their money will go to pay for sanctions and for the upcoming defamation lawsuit which they will also lose.

          Just because you wish there was a cover-up, doesn’t mean there is a cover-up. As the accuser the onus is on you to bring evidence that will stand up in court.

      • Dang you’re even more dumb than the person that commented b4 you. WTF is wrong with you people?! What if that was you?! Or your child?! And you seen their face like that, would you believe they suffocated??? his parents were right in everything they did you’re just ignorant

  3. The condition of his body does not come from that kind of accident. None of this adds up, and the missing tapes just make it worse. He was murdered. Its easy to brush it off when it’s someone else’s child but imagine if it where your own. THIS WOULD BE UNEXCEPTABLE!

  4. True! If you are near 6 ft u don’t just get stuck in a 6ft rolled up mat. Especially if your arms are above you it makes you 7 to 8 ft longer. He was murdered you can see on dem Bell’s face they killed Kendrick. For them to cover up and take footage off the tape I can guarantee you that missing footage was a dead give away to what happened. They edited the tapes because they knew they would be sued o in prison.

  5. This was no accident, this boy was murdered and the cover up is pure evil , but God is the ultimate authority and those involved will be judged one day and I pray it’s sooner than later , for all those calling this murder a accident what if this was your child or family member ? There are too many unanswered questions, like where are the missing tapes ? Where are his missing clothes that should have been returned to his family since it was labeled an accident, and why wasn’t the blood found next to his body that was deemed not his own investigated further? Than you have the email , so what that was all just made up ? Also that poor child’s face was swollen beyond recognition because of blunt force trauma most likely caused by an object of some sort, the list of inconsistencies regarding this case is more than a mile long. Wake up people, again this was no accident smh just a deliberate murder and sadly the murderer or murderers are still roaming free, free to kill again if they already haven’t, and that school knows who they are.

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