Kendrick Johnson’s Family Rallies for Their Son’s Death Investigation

| April 10, 2013

Lowndes ext 5Three months after Kendrick Johnson’s death, his family rallied in Downtown Valdosta, demanding answers and believing he was murdered at Lowndes High school.

Investigators believe no foul play was involved in Johnson’s death, but they are still waiting on the final autopsy report from the GBI. The family wants answers to why the investigation is taking so long.

Johnson was found dead January 11 inside the old gymnasium at Lowndes High School. Sheriff’s investigators believe his death was an accident. They say he fell inside the opening of a rolled up cheer leading mat and could not get out.

But Johnson’s family is confident that Kendrick was murdered.

The GBI’ preliminary autopsy showed no sign of injury, but the final report has not been completed.

“We don’t think, we know that he was murdered,” said Johnson.

The GBI’s preliminary autopsy report shows no sign of injury, but the final report still hasn’t been completed. The sheriff’s department has submitted more samples for DNA testing, and that could delay the final report even more.

GBI officials say the do not have a completion date for the final autopsy report.

One of the signs the family was holding during the rally showed a picture the family said is of Kendrick after his death. They believe the photo indicates that he was murdered. The graphic photo has since been circulating Facebook and other social networking sites.

read more at WALB here.

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43 Comments on "Kendrick Johnson’s Family Rallies for Their Son’s Death Investigation"

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  1. Desiree Davis says:

    I am a Lowndes student myself and it is ridiculous that justice has STILL not been seen for him. Nothing in the “story about the mats” adds up and I’m ready for an answer, as we all are. My heart goes out to his family!
    ~Revelation 21:4
    ~Psalms 37:29

    • Leo says:

      Keep us all posted Desiree…

      • Zaakira says:

        I am a mother of 4 boys ages 18-9 mos and I can’t fathom anything like this happening to them. I have prayed for the Johson family nonstop and I hope that they get all of the justice they deserve. The pictures that the world has seen does not add up to him hanging upside down. SMH this is the worst thing that can ever happen to parents and if it was me the school would burn down the ground along with the rest of the city of Valdosta until I get answers nothing and no one would sleep!!!!

  2. Mika says:

    I saw that picture in Facebook and there’s NO WAY they’re gonna try to stand by “no foul play”!!! That child was beaten-CLEARLY!!!!!! I shared with my friends on Facebook, Twit and IG! Get it together Georgia!

    • Shantwunequa Glover says:

      Exactly, same thing I was just saying. They can not saqy this is foul play because this boy was beaten clearly. Just look at the pictures. COME ON

  3. Janelle says:

    Hey I have read and seen videos& pictures of KJ and its sadd that valdosta wud even HIDE SUCH this long frm a family the police suppose to serve us and help to its fullest and I have seen nothing but cover up….Its common sense this was foul play their noway it cuddnt have.My heart goes out to the JohnsonFamily…

  4. miya johnson says:

    i just pray hope that his family finally get’s the justices that they are rightfully owed at the point and i hope who ever did this kj step up and say something so his family can be at peace we love and miss you dearly kj may you rip and justices will be severed for you at the end this not over yet

  5. mzparis30 says:

    That boy was killed ….then who slip on a Matt and get turned up side down and rolled up(smh) ill Sue the school and the state for wrongfull death since everybody dont know nothing. Then where were the students nobody seen or heard nothing really..where’s jessie jackson. Mr. Im all for my people. He was there for them jenna 8 boys why not Kendrick.

  6. shalene says:

    I dont blame his gamily for wanting answers because a young man is not with his family anymore. If it was my son noboy would get any sleep because a family has a right to know what happen to their son. My prayers and thoughts are with the family.

  7. CJ says:

    I saw the pictures of Kendrick Johnson,however, I don’t understand how floor mats can cause the damage it did with him; if floor mats cause that type of injury, maybe they should be ruled dangerous to people who use them. It does not take an expert to see that something else happened.

    Please keep on fighting, marching, speaking out regarding the death of such a good-looking young black man–he deserves answers, justice and conviction to who committed such a unspeakable crime–which is murder!

  8. shawnda says:

    If he supposedly fell in the gym where were the others students and the teacher??? That false story is ridiculous. Makes no kind of sense. I hope that family finds answers ASAP and someone is found guilty!!!!!

  9. Tiff Lee says:

    We support you in Fayetteville/Hope Mills! We are rallying right behind you! Prayers to the family and friends…even from a distance the story seems to be a cover-up to something. We hope and pray you find out the truth! God is with you!

  10. commonsense says:

    I will start by saying that as a parent, my heart breaks for this child’s mother. This is truly a horrible, senseless death that may never be explained. I could not begin to imagine the pain she must feel by losing her child, coupled with not knowing exactly how and why he died. Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to blame someone else instead of a freak accident for taking the life of your child. But, as a person trying to look at this objectively, it seems more like there are more who want to make this a racial issue and started a civil rights movement and others who are still upset our sheriff was re-elected and want to make his administration look bad, than those who want closure for this family. Just because this child was black does not mean he was murdered with some big cover up because there are unanswered questions in how he died. We are so used to getting answers and results immediately…mainly in part of how quickly information travels via smart phones, internet, and social media and it’s just not like that in an investigation. They do not post daily status updates on fb. The coroner apparently ruled his death as accidental because there were no signs of trauma to his body other than the ones from falling in that manner and being restrained that way until death. The sheriff then ruled, no foul play, sent body to GBI for more extensive autopsy and asked for anyone to come forward with any information on this case. It is not a closed case. I wonder if any of these kids, and adults, who keep protesting and posting on social media he was murdered and this is all a big cover up have gone to give a statement since they apparently know what happened? The picture his family put out does not prove anything. I could not imagine seeing my child hurt like that, much less put out there for everyone to see. Does the picture indicate he was beaten? Maybe. Does the picture indicate he fell head first in the mat and had the skin ripped off his face, blood pooled in his head, and his head distorted from being upside down for so long? Maybe. Are there tons of questions left unanswered…most definitely! Point is WE DO NOT KNOW YET. We all need to just support each other, grieve with this family, be patient and we will get some answers…then we can all point fingers, march, and assign blame. Prayers and love to this family and I really do hope they get some answers soon and our community is not torn apart in the process!

    • Too often others direct certain Americans as to how they should think and live their lives. However, do you know the history that is maintained within the Black African American Community? Have you heard of the Week Terror in May 1918 when 15 to 25 Blacks were murdered and nothing has been done about these murdered Black people by White Mo b members?
      In addition, Google the many other Blacks that have died without any level of closure by South Georgia Law Enforcement; even a Black Police Officer in Quitman were burned up in a police care and this too have been ignored. This is only a short list of a few incidents that Black and White people have knowledge of without any answers in few.
      Moreover, I voted for Sheriff Prine when he first ran for office and have been disappointed by his administration and had better success along with openness under Sheriff Ashley Paulk. The real question is if the coroner was not informed about this death for whatever reason. We can only ask; how many more deaths have been in our jail and the coroner did not do is job in accordance with Georgia Law?
      Please Google “Valdosta-Lowndes County Jail Deaths” and we are leading the State of Georgia in jail deaths and nothing is being said about here in South Georgia.
      The unreported by the South Georgia News Media whiteout machine.
      White Outs from public meetings etc.,

      • Peaceinthevalley says:

        With all due respect to you, this is not a racial issue. Please go back and read commonsense’s remark. If I had a penny for every time someone interjected race into an issue, I would be a filthy rich black girl…filthy rich. When are we going to STOP insinuating race and read the facts for what they are…..FACTS. Black people are the only race that always want to include the race card, call Jesse Jackson, march around a city twelve times, and cry foul. In this case, YES…foul should be called as there is something not right with this. But please, before we jump on the bandwagon, can we at least draw educated conclusion and wait for all of the facts to be presented first? Your comment shows why some White people think the way they do about our culture. It is sickening. In every state in this union, you will find all sorts of issues that can be tied to race, not just in Georgia. This is not a racial issue. Let’s not make it one…for crying out loud!!!!!

        • STFU says:

          It is definitely a racism issue. If I had a penny for every time a self deluded Caucasian tried to minimize the bold facts to soothe his or her own conscious, I’d be a billionaire. You have no idea what it is to Black. And you dont have no idea on what it means to be targeted. It IS a racist issue. He DOES look like Emmitt Till. And we SHOULD be concerned. Now, if you want to hide your head in the sand and try to blame the VICTIM of white supremacy, have at it. But just because you are in DENIAL doesnt mean it doesnt happen, period.

          Are you racist? How many times have you called a Black person the N word? Everyone has the absolute RIGHT to BELIEVE that there is a CHANCE that this is a racist issue, due to your ancestors HISTORY and your PRESENT actions against Black people and people of color.

          You are either culturally insensitive, or just plain ignorant. Either way, you are the one that needs to calm down.

    • StunningShay on Instagram/Twitter & Prima Donna on Facebook says:

      TSK TSK TSK. 1) Chinese, white, black, Puerto Rican, Hatian, Japanese, Indian, Dominican, TRINIDADIAN .. it doesn’t matter! If you were MURDERED it should have been SOLVED! Not “a year” later for the autopsy to be presented! To “George Boston Rhynes” & “commonsense” 2) “commonsense” I take it that you DIDN’T SEE THE PICTURE OF KENDRICK after HIS DEATH. 3) It doesn’t take a rocket science or a 3 year old to see our city of Valdosta & Lowndes County’s Departments are yet indeed HIDING something! ESPECIALLY if the coroner, Bill Watson, HIMSELF said they didn’t call him to the scene! YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO CALL THE CORONER AS soon AS YOU FIND A dead BODY!!

      I WILL support this “KJmovement” for as long as we all have to! ANYTHING that can make a difference goes! Even some celebrities are hurt & are helping to spread this story!!

      #IamKendrickJohnson #IamKJ #JUSTICEforKJ !!!!!!!

      AAAAANNND 1 !

    • Robin Postell says:

      Respectfully, you are taking the position of rationale, logic; however, the logic you’re using is only reliable if all the variables behind what you’re asserting are actually reliable. We don’t have answers – why? Why wasn’t basic, fundamental Georgia Code followed, regarding the coroner being called immediately, and also the absence of Kendrick’s clothes, and even missing braces from his teeth? As far as getting the facts, I have to tell you that from being an internationally traveled investigative journalist, second generation at that, sometimes you have to find the truth instead of sit around waiting on others in positions of “authority” to do it for you. It doesn’t happen like that, unfortunately. The fact that technology has afforded people to communicate about the case is a benefit, not a rabble-rousing nuisance. I haven’t heard anyone say anything especially directed towards it being a race issue, but as a white South Georgia, I’m going to be honest – it sure looks like it could be. My father wrote about these kinds of horrors all my life and I know how awful people can be. And even if it wasn’t racially provoked, there’s always the possibility he fell into a bad situation with fellow schoolmates. There is no story, no timeline, beyond the mere basics. Patrick Davis, writing for The Examiner, has done some outstanding work. The absence of dot-connecting, such as him pointing out that the GBI had closed a lab in Moultrie…and I think Patrick Davis was the first one to write that the coroner hadn’t been contacted. I beseech any and all to think outside your boxes and be progressive. Put race aside, but stereotypes aside, think for yourself, think if it was you. Is it really that hard?

  11. angelique says:

    Still no justice this is crazy

  12. Renée Zitzloff says:

    I do not know much about this case–I only have the media. But I do know that racism in this country is still rampant and not just among those who call themselves “white supremacists.” They are but the visible tip of the iceberg. Black people and other people of color do not get the privileged treatment white people get–and there is obviously something being covered up in this case–and blatantly. It is hard enough to have a child die without being lied to about it. Memory eternal to Kendrick Johnson and love and prayers sent to his family. The truth will come out, but will those who killed and those who lied be held accountable?

    • Robin Postell says:

      Your comment went straight to the heart of the matter. Thanks for it, and for not being intimidated by public opinion enough to not use your real name.

  13. anon says:

    My heart goes out to this family. Truly does. But to be honest, if he fell face first and hit the ground, and then was upside down for nearly 20 hours, common sense tells you his face WILL indeed look like he was beat up. I’m not saying he wasn’t, and I agree justice needs to be served, but I do feel like it could have just been a tragic, terrible freak accident.

  14. mark says:

    This should not be a white or black thing. We all want are kids to do well and live in a good environment. I sure hope they find out what went wrong. Something is not right in my book. I hope this family can find peace and my prayers are with you.

  15. Ms. Brown says:

    You can only do dirt for so long before the truth surfaces. Come on Valdosta citizens (those who care)…don’t let this one get swept under the rug…JUSTICE IS JUSTICE regardless of the color of the skin. Kendrick’s parents, family and friends deserve THE TRUTH! I am from Valdosta…born and raised and don’t much about the Sheriff but I do know that photos rarely lie and if this child wasn’t murdered…what really happened to him? Are you seriously thinking folks are going to believe it was an accident based on the condition of his body? REALLY? followed by a huge BLANK STARE! As I type this, folks are gathered at the Courthouse downtown Valdosta. My heart and love is there with them. NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE! Racism still lives and sadly it lives in a place where I was born/raised.

  16. Anon says:

    As a LHS graduate and former wrestler I can tell you the “falling in” story is crap. For a person KJ’s size to fit into the center of a rolled mat is next to impossible if rolled correctly much less fall into it.

    • MRS SWEETPEACH says:


      • Robin Postell says:

        At last. Someone is coming forward. This is the best selection of comments I’ve seen yet, on any of the online coverage. I’m on deadline at the moment but as soon as May 13 is over, I’m going to cover this story. Please contact me – especially high school students at Lowndes. Very little media coverage of fellow students makes this story incomplete…Add me on Facebook, and email me,

  17. Justice for All says:

    The post made by “Commonsense” couldn’t have been stated any better. He/she is completely correct in what they stated. As for my comments fist of all let the investigation run it’s course. A lot of tests that have to be done have to be sent off to another location that is probably working many other cases as well and lab results take time. This is not CSI, CSI Miami/New York. Results don’t happen in 5 minutes or less. As for the issue between the Sheriff’s office and the coroner, the phone records and time stated in the crime scene report will clear that issue up of when the investigators contacted the coroner and when he was logged into the crime scene and when he left. As for Mrs Johnson and her family. May god bless you and protect you. A mother or father should never have to bury their child. But please remove the death picture of your son. We all know you have suffered a great loss and want answers. Showing that picture will not get you what you want any faster. The other picture shows a handsome young man. Please keep showing that.

    • K. D. Henry says:

      I am not calling this a racial issue. I clearly want this family to get answers to what happen to their son. The family does not take delight in showing their beautiful son’s death picture. This is their story. Common Sense is entitled to his/ her opinion. And so are the other readers. My prayers are with the family. I am waiting for the reports-answers are needed. Closure for this family is important.

    • Robert says:

      I’ve read alot of the comments including the comments by “commonsense” and “justice for all.” I feel a mother should be able to mourn how she pleases. If showing the picture is what she feels then she has the right to do so. What upsets me is how we in America and some people refuse to recognize when something isn’t right. Regardless if it will raise questions of race. Racism still exists and some people of the caucasian persuasion want to act like something doesn’t smell right. I understand you don’t want complete chaos to occur but if this boy was caucasian there would be public out cry. Look at Sandy Hook Elementary that was on for days and nobody told those people to stop grieving or how to grieve. African American kids die all the time. When they die, it’s business as usual but when it’s another race, we have to have a holiday an pause for a moment of silence all over the world. Let’s demad justice for this young man and his family. Not because he is black, simply because he and his family deserves it.

  18. Danielle says:

    There are so many questions and not enough answers. I do not see how there was no foul play. I mean come on really? why was he in the gym in the first place? why was he alone if it was a accident? why would he even be playing on the mats? where was he supposed to be at the time of his death? how could he even fit in the mats with out someone rolling him up? if he did lose a shoe why would he try to reach in and get it if the mat was taller then him knowing he couldn’t reach it? Wouldn’t it be easier to have moved the mat to get his shoe? Why did the police say he reached for a shoe that they didn’t know was his or not? seems to me if it was his shoe then they would be able to look at his feet and see if he is missing one and if it matched the other shoe. And why did the school tape of him entering the gym go blurry after he went into the gym? not that I know those are all 100% true as some things iv read and seen by others, but if they are true then wheres the answers. I pray for the family and all his loved ones may he rip and have justice. This is a story to close to home and to me its not a black or white matter, were all humans and the family deserve justice, peace and answers.

  19. roynitsheiajackson says:

    size of kendrick dont add about the mat some one put him there after he beat him to death

  20. Orville says:

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  21. Zaria says:

    i dont think that story adds up. This boy was murdered and everyone knows that…how can sumone fall into a rolled up mat? thats ridiculous and stupid for them to say that. I think they are lyin because they dont want us, as the public, and his family to kno the truth. To the Johnson family i advise for you to keep praying and keep fighting.. God is going to tell yall the truth. I will keep you all in my prayers. Be blessed.

  22. Logic says:

    I’ve read most of the comments and I’m familiar with Valdosta. It was a extremely poor call for them not to call the medical staff to the crime scene. Quick question? How high is this mat for this kid to have fallen to his death with this type of damage? If Valdosta makes this a race issue, the sheriff will lose. I pray for the family but have patience and stick to the facts.. Dealing with child deaths are always difficult for most human beings. Good luck with this..

  23. Makenzey Jade says:

    Race is a factor in this issue because the family and this young man who died are Black. That is important because as Black people, we should see ourselves in their struggle, in their tear-filled eyes and want to act for a cause that is not being supported by anyone else. It is far fetched to say that this is a cover up because Kendrick Johnson is Black, or that he has not received justice simply because he is Black. It is not far fetched for the family to believe what they do because they are the ones in this moment, not us. That mother knows her son. That mothers knows the racial environment that she lives in, and if that mother/father/family feels that their race is major factor in this situation, then so be it. Let them feel that way. Let them protest. It is not OUR place to question their plight because WE don’t feel that race is a factor. We can have lived in Valdosta, we can have lived next door, but we don’t know what that young man or that family faced. As people on the outside looking in, we have opinions for days. We can even offer our condolences and our prayers, but it is just as rude to question this family’s plight. Furthermore, Black people are NOT the only race that pulls the race card. However, we are the most verbal race about it because we have the longest history of having our race count against us. The world constantly pulls the race card on Black people. I’m disgusted with anyone who tries to downplay this issue, and act as if Black people shouldn’t be standing together on this for any other reason than the fact that we’re Black. If this were a Jewish boy, every Jewish organization would be up in arms, whether they knew the child or not. If he had been White, the same thing. Even if he had been Hispanic or Asian, their entire community would stand behind this family, their notions, and push for justice from this police department for lack of any other reasons, but for the fact that this child looked like them – this child looked like their child. Get it together. This is NOT a justice for all issue. This is a Black, young man, who was possibly murdered, and who deserves the entire Black community to be concerned until there is ENOUGH reasonable doubt for us to feel otherwise.

  24. Mr. Big says:

    What about the girl he was texting that was suposto meet him in the gym all “alone” . The same girl that had a police escort all around campus the next few days. Wh don’t we hear from that.

    • Robin Postell says:

      Mr. Big, get in touch with me, please. This is something I’ve not heard…

  25. MrsT says:

    Im white & raised in valdosta..I dont belive this is about race..this has been handled in the wrong way and the family wants answers and justice try to put yourself in their shoes. I give the boy more credit than they are he wouldnt reach down in that mat to grab somthing knowing he couldnt get out! Someone beat him until they knocked him out then they put him upside down in those mats and he suffacated to death. At least thats what i think, it makes since to me. all this other gibbersh dont add up.

    • Robin Postell says:

      The only sensible comments on the web are on this site. I might sleep a little better knowing this…

  26. Jeanette says:

    First off, there are too many variables in this to be ruled an accident so quickly. I believe the people in charge of investigating just went on their opinion, and so they weren’t trying to find evidence of foul play. This kid played sports, he was around gym mats and knew NOT to crawl into one, especially with no one around. Why didn’t it tip over? Why did he have missing teeth? Clothes, etc. Too MANY questions to rule an accident. It disgusts me how the County is handling this. I’m sure the ignorance level of the employees is high, and they were just plain lazy and judgemental. They just obviously thought “It was a stupid kid who did a stupid thing” is HORRIBLE. Shame on the investigators. This beautiful boy deserves to get justice, his parents need to feel they aren’t alone, and that EVERYTHING was done 100% to find the exact cause of death. I pray for everyone involved. GOD, please help getting all the questions answered.