Sign in to comment!


Crime & Courts

Parents of Georgia teen who died in 'freak accident' believe son was murdered


This undated photo, provided by Fox affiliate WAGA-TV, shows Kendrick Johnson.

The parents of a Georgia teenager, whose body was found inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his high school gym, believe their son was murdered, the family's attorney said Thursday.

Kendrick Johnson, of Valdosta, Ga., was found Jan. 11 stuck in an upright mat propped behind the bleachers inside his high school gym. Lowndes County sheriff's investigators concluded Johnson died in a freak accident, but the 17-year-old's family disputes that. 

"They absolutely think their son was murdered," Benjamin Crump, an attorney representing Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson, told

"They never believed he died the way the sheriff concluded. They believe that it defies logic, the laws of physics as well as common sense," Crump said. "They think this is a cover-up to protect the person or people responsible for their son’s death."

"They sent their son to school with a book-bag and he was returned to them in a body bag," he said. 

U.S. Attorney Michael Moore said Thursday he is conducting a formal investigation into Johnson's death, noting that several key questions remain unanswered.

"What was the cause of death? Was his death the result of a crime?" Moore said at a press conference Thursday afternoon. "I will follow the facts wherever they lead. My objective is to discovery the truth."

"I am of the opinion that a sufficient basis exists" for a formal investigation, he said. 

Moore told reporters that the initial autopsy indicated Johnson died as a result of "positional asphyxia." A second autopsy, however, listed a different cause of death, according to Moore. 

"There are several questions that must be answered or confirmed," he said. 

Moore added that if he uncovers sufficient evidence to warrant a criminal or civil rights investigation into the death of Johnson he will ask the FBI to conduct it.

A representative from the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office was not immediately available for comment when contacted Thursday. 

A southern Georgia judge on Wednesday ordered authorities to release all surveillance video that investigators reviewed. The teenager's parents said they hope the video footage will contain clues to how he died.'s Cristina Corbin and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here for more on this story from

Bank Rates

Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
30 Y Fixed Graph 3.94% up 3.93%  
15 Y Fixed Graph 3.03% -- 3.03%  
30 Y Fixed Jumbo Graph 4.17% up 4.13%  
5/1 ARM Graph 3.33% up 3.27%  
5/1 Jumbo ARM Graph 3.12% up 3.09%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
$30K HELOC Graph 4.32% up 4.31%  
$50K HELOC Graph 4.06% -- 4.06%  
$30K Loan Graph 5.05% dw 5.08%  
$50K Loan Graph 4.48% dw 4.50%  
$75K Loan Graph 4.50% dw 4.52%  
Loan Type Graph Rate +/- Last Week
36 M New Graph 2.93% dw 2.94%  
36 M Used Graph 3.48% up 3.46%  
48 M New Graph 3.22% dw 3.23%  
48 M Used Graph 3.04% -- 3.04%  
60 M New Graph 3.24% -- 3.24%  
Loan Type Graph Yield +/- Last Week
6 month Graph 0.39% up 0.38%  
1 yr Graph 0.72% up 0.71%  
5 yr Graph 1.50% dw 1.52%  

See the latest updates on the hottest midterm races from Fox News

Full Elections Coverage →

Keep up with all the 2014 races in

Coverage →