by John Preer
Last January, teen Kendrick Johnson was found dead in a gym mat at Lowndes High School.
The initial autopsy report ruled the teen’s death an accident as a result of positional asphyxiation. The report also stated that there were no indications of foul play.
On June 15, the Johnson family received a judge’s permission to exhume the body of Kendrick Johnson for a private autopsy. The autopsy revealed new findings that contradict the initial report.
Dr. William Anderson performed the second autopsy, and upon further examination of the body, identified blunt force trauma to the right jaw and neck.
These markings were said to be “consistent with inflicted injury”.
Dr. Anderson also remarked that the amount of fluid found in Kendrick Johnson’s lungs was not consistent with the accidental death theory.
The GBI hypothesizes that Johnson climbed into the gym mat to retrieve a lost shoe, and suffocated under his own weight. Had Johnson asphyxiated himself as a result of retrieving his shoe, the amount of fluid that entered his lungs, post-mortem, would have been reflected in an abnormal lung weight of about 800 grams. However the second autopsy revealed that there were no abnormalities with the weight of Johnson’s lungs.
“The findings suggesting a homicide would clearly indicate that further investigation is necessary to answer the questions that have been raised,” Dr. Anderson said.
When questioned about the recent release of a second autopsy report, a Lowndes County official stated that Sheriff’s Department “stands by The Georgia Bureau of Investigation with their autopsy results.”
The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department did not want to comment on the new findings or possible reopening of the case.