Posted inSocial Justice

Kendrick Johnson’s Family says Investigation’s Outcome was Predictable

Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson
In this Dec. 13, 2013 file photo, Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson stand next to a banner on their SUV showing their late son, Kendrick Johnson in Valdosta, Ga. A Georgia sheriff said Wednesday, March 10, 2021, he's reopened an investigation into the 2013 death of the teenager, whose body was found inside a rolled-up gym mat at his high school. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum, File)
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In an inherently peculiar case that garnered national outrage in 2013, a final decision has been made and now the case for Kendrick Johnson is now closed.

Made official on Wednesday by Lowndes County Sheriff Office’s second investigation, Kendrick’s parents remain without closure for their son’s tragic death.

Moreover, even with an earlier FBI analyst, it has yet again been concluded that no evidence exists of a crime in Kendrick’s death. 

What Really Happened to Kendrick Johnson?

Only 17 years of age, Kendrick Johnson was mysteriously found deceased in a rolled-up gym mat at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia on January 10, 2013.

Local authorities’ investigation that Johnson may have reached into the mat to retrieve a shoe, got stuck, then suffocated has been disputed by his parents, who stated to CBS46:

“Let go of the investigation,” Mr. Johnson said. “Let someone come in a way higher than this office handle this investigation because your investigators are not going to uncover something that they helped cover-up.”

“I’m just hoping that this time around someone will come in and do their job,” Mrs. Johnson said. “Do what they are paid to do. They’re not paid to lie. They’re not paid to cover it up. They took an oath to protect and serve and they’re not doing any of that.”

According to The Grio, videotape shows Kendrick walking into the Lowndes High Gym on Jan. 10, 2013. He was later discovered by a teacher the following day rolled up inside a gym mat.

Sheriff Ashley Paulk told WSB-TV his office reviewed the FBI’s findings and17 boxes of evidence in their inquiry. “From the documents I’ve read and the investigation I’ve seen, I feel 100% sure there was no foul play,” Paulk told WCTV’s, Katie Kaplan.

When No One’s Looking

“It’s a terrible accident, in my opinion,” said the Sheriff.

Funny how accidents always tend to occur when no one’s looking. In a befuddling case that has taken nearly a decade just to arrive at another stalemate, the family’s mistrust is clear.

The investigation includes allegations that then-classmates Brian and Brandon Bell had something to do with Kendrick’s death. Johnson’s parents filed a $100 million wrongful death suit against the brothers on Jan. 15, 2015, but dropped it on March 2, 2016. Over 40 defendants were named in a second lawsuit filed in August 2016, including Kendrick’s classmates and school board members.

Yet nothing. No charges. No nothing.

A judge dismissed it and Johnson’s parents were ordered to pay attorneys’ fees associated with the lawsuits.

An All But Predictable Outcome

Jaqueline Johnson stated she is not surprised by the sheriff’s findings. “We already knew that nothing was going to be done on your watch,” she contended. “This is how you roll in Valdosta.”

The Johnson Family has never wavered in their belief that Kendrick was murdered.  In 2013, their lives were upended, but today they use their unforeseen tragedy to help others who are at risk of the same fate.

The Kendrick Johnson Foundation Fund makes its purpose clear:

“We choose to honor Kendrick by doing what he loved to do the most, helping others. We ask for your continued support in donating to this fund, which will benefit the Kendrick Johnson Foundation’s mission to raise awareness on the need for increased supervision and safety within our public schools.”

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...