Kendrick Johnson Case Presented To Public

| October 30, 2014

kendrick johnson case

 VALDOSTA — Allison Ericson, Valdosta Today News Director:

On Oct. 28, Lieutenant Stride Jones presented the Kendrick Johnson case to the public. Jones was a supervisor in the Johnson case and presented on behalf of the Lowndes County Sheriffs Department.

Jones’ presentation was formatted into a timeline of events which provided the dates, times, and locations of Kendrick’s moves.

“January 11, 2013 changed my life professionally and personally, especially the events to come after,” Jones said. “You have to understand the timeline of events to understand what took place with Kendrick’s death.”

On January 9, 2013 at approximately 6:30 AM, Kendrick boarded his school bus driven by his mother. He arrived at Lowndes High School and proceeded to attend his first, second, and third block classes.

Police began tracking Kendrick’s moves on the school cameras at 8:33 AM when he was first seen. At 1:00 PM a camera captured Johnson entering the old gym, this photo would later be known as the last photo of Kendrick alive.

“Kendrick enters the gym as does this student, Student A. Student A goes into the gym first. Student A goes in and he starts walking to the back right hand corner in the gym. Kendrick comes in probably a second, second and a half behind him and goes to the back left hand corner,” Jones said.”They separate, they are not together, they never speak to each other. Nobody enters the gym after Kendrick except in a few seconds, actually…18 seconds.”

The first important piece of information to the police was Johnson’s attire, a white shirt, an orange under shirt, jeans, and white tennis shoes. The police used this information to not only track Kendrick’s moves throughout the day, but to make sure his image remained consistent through interviews and statements. A second important piece of information is how fast Kendrick was moving in the still photographs of him entering the gym.

” If you look at the video he is not running, but he is walking fast. That was the first key to us, and if you notice his hair is kind of parted on the side, like somebody might be walking fast,” Jones said. “That was the first thing, why is he walking fast? Is he trying to get away from somebody or something? Is he trying to get to something?”

The police were told that Johnson used to play on the LHS football team, after some things happened he left the team. The coaches informed Johnson he could return to the team once his grades were higher and his attendance was satisfactory. This lead police to believe he was walking briskly because he did not want to arrive late to his weight lifting class in the athletic field house.

Attendance records showed that Kendrick never arrived to his fourth block class.

Police found out that the varsity basketball team was practicing in the old gym on January 10 at 3:30 PM. Later, at 4:00 PM the winter color guard began practice in the old gym. These students were interviewed with no reports of ever hearing or seeing Kendrick in the gym.

Kendrick’s mother reported him missing at midnight.

On January 11, Kendrick Johnson was found and reported dead. Philip Pieplow, LHS athletic trainer reported finding Johnson in a rolled up mat against the wall in the left hand corner of the gym. Pieplow was teaching a class when students found Johnson’s body.

kendrick photo

“There are 20 something of them, the mat that the kid was inside of was in the very back and towards the right. He starts pulling mats down from the top, pulling them to the floor. While he’s pulling down mats one of the things that falls off is a yellow folder and some other school books. He gets to the mat that the child is in and he pulls it over, when he pulls it down Kendrick Johnson slides out the other side of it, partially slides out,” Jones said.

There were five items at the site of Kendrick’s death that were extremely valuable to the case. These items included, a pair of size 9.5, Adidas, black and white shoes, blood spatter on the wall, a bloody tissue in the girls bathroom, a Nike shoe, and a cellular phone.

“In this area you see boxed in…is what we call our crime scene. People ask, ‘why do you call it a crime scene? You said it was not a crime.’ On January 11, what we knew was we had a deceased child at a high school and that’s not natural, you dog-gone right we approached it like a crime scene,” Jones said.

Johnson’s arm was found draped over one of the black and white shoes, the other one was found a few feet from the mat.

There was dried blood spatter on the wall 40 ft. away from the mat where Johnson was found, the blood was tested and was not a match.

“It’s not Kendrick’s blood, now we do not know whose blood it is. Well a lot of people ask ‘why didn’t you test everyone at the school?’ Well number one, we don’t have a legal basis, number two, you’re talking about testing 3,000 people,” Jones said.

Investigators found a bloody tissue in the girls restroom located outside of the gym, the blood was tested and was not a match.The Nike shoe appeared to have blood spatter on it, the shoe was tested and the spatter was paint.

“We have the bloody tissue in the girls bathroom, we send it off. During the interviews we had a student, Student B say, ‘Hey I know about the bloody tissue, that’s my blood.’ During the color guard practice with the poles she got hit in the nose, she went to the bathroom and cleaned herself up,” Jones said. “We didn’t stop there, we sent it off for DNA testing, then we had the Nike shoe, we sent that off and like I told you before, that is not blood on the shoe. The stains were negative for blood.”

The cellular phone found in Kendrick’s pocket had no recorded activity since December 27. Johnson was using the phone to listen to music and connect to the school’s WiFi throughout the day.

“January 14, Monday, Dr. Craft forms an autopsy at the Central South Georgia crime lab in Macon, they are GBI, not associated with us in anyway. They have nothing to do with our agency, they just do the autopsies for the state medical examiners office,” Jones said. “What Dr. Craft told us was from the initial autopsy, she said ‘I’m not sure at this point what he died from, but I can tell you what he didn’t die from, he had not been beaten, he had not been stabbed, he had not be shot, he had not been sexually assaulted  or anything such as that.'”

The police began interviewing students back to back when they finally received an important statement from Student C.

“Me and Kendrick Johnson ‘KJ’ had third block gym together in coach Davis’ class. At the beginning of class I would always wait for coach to call roll then I’d go get me and Kendrick’s basketball shoes. I would tilt the mats over and get the shoes from the bottom, I never got into a mat,” Student C said.

The same detective received a similar statement from Student D. Student D mentioned knowing about the shoes and that he shared them with Student C. Another student, Student E shares his statement about the shoes and reported that he had never worn the shoes but had seen them throw the shoes into the mat and retrieve them on several occasions.

The size 9.5, Adidas, black and white tennis shoes had belonged to Kendrick, he had received them from his eighth grade basketball coach at Lowndes Middle School.

“This is actually the shoe that was under Kendrick and people say ‘There is no blood on the shoe,’ yeah there is…on the back line that’s blood, there is blood on the shoe laces…so there is blood on the shoe,” Jones said.

Police officials and the GBI reported Johnson’s cause of death as asphyxiation.

“These mats are six ft. high, Kendrick is 5’10 5’11 so the argument always comes up or people always present to us, if hes 5’11 and that mat is six ft.,why did he not stretch out the top? “If he stretched his toes out enough, he could, you’re absolutely right,” Jones said. “If a person is alive they could, however once Kendrick’s body passed away it is no longer a stiff upright body, it is now limp. When your body dies it becomes limp, gravity takes over and everything goes to the lowest point, that’s what happened to Kendrick.”

Officials believe that before Christmas break students were asked to roll up the mats, pushing the mat with the black and white shoes to the back. Johnson climbed on top of the mats to retrieve the shoes, fell into the mat, asphyxiated, and eventually died. The case was closed in May 2013, after police reported there was no foul play in the death of Kendrick Johnson.


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Filed in: Local News, News

22 Comments on "Kendrick Johnson Case Presented To Public"

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  1. Don't need to know.. says:

    Very interesting. Almost believable! Try again.

  2. Concern Citizen says:

    I hope this gives the family some healing and they can move on

  3. This is the must self serving BS I’ve ever read, This doesn’t explain
    why his body Parts were discarded, Why the Autopsy didn’t notice the hit
    on his neck, Why they destroyed all the evidence, Why the Cameras didn’t
    pick up any of this because they were erased. I’ll wait until Michael
    Moore makes his statement before I decide what really happened, Something
    stinks like Sheet, I want to know what it is, Jimmy b.

  4. Shanell says:

    I don’t believe this bs

  5. Unknown says:

    If this case was concluded May 2013, why is this still going on? The report states HE WAS NOT BEATEN, STABBED, OR SHOT! Everyone needs to move on and begin the healing process from this whole thing. It’s time to accept what happened, stop posting photos, and let Kendrick rest in peace.

    • You are incorrect, The second autopsy states blunt force trauma, The
      first autopsy was tampered with, We know this as fact, You need to be
      following this cover-up better. Many unanswered questions that we hope
      will be answered shortly, Thank you, jimmy b.

      • Unknown says:

        This article is the latest on the case(not cover up). It happened yesterday. Where does it state(not in this article, but anywhere) the first autopsy was tampered with and the second showed blunt force trauma? And who is ‘we’?

        • This article is one persons opinion, the facts are the
          facts, They need to answer many questions, Do some research
          for yourself, It’s easy to write an article and leave all the
          facts out. Why did somebody white out information on the
          first autopsy, What happened to six hours of video tape at the
          exact time he was in the Gym, What about the death threat to
          Kendrick’s best friend, Why wouldn’t the Bell brothers speak
          with the investigators, They sent their parents instead, Any
          time someone of interest refuses to speak to investigators I
          smell a rat, To many unanswered questions, Jimmy b.

    • Ansley young says:

      Kendrick cannot rest in peace if he was murdered and that murder wasn’t ever solved. I see his family everyday outside of the courthouse in downtown valdosta, nothing is peaceful about that. All this is bullshit. Valdosta and Lowndes county are so corrupt if u ain’t from hear u wouldn’t understand.

    • The investigation has been on going for almost a year, Michael Moore
      a federal investigator started investigating this on Oct. 31st 2013.
      He stated that he would follow any lead to get to the truth, He has
      interviewed over a hundred people thus far but still is doing more.
      The public that feels something is wrong have been waiting for about
      a year now, We expect to hear from him very soon, We don’t know
      what’s he’s found out, All the public wants is the truth, He’ll have
      to have an explanation for all the unanswered questions that the people have, He’s going to have to tell us why all the physical evidence was destroyed,If he can’t give a good explanation why then this case will never be over, Please be patient, thank you, jimmy b.
      closed, not until then, Jimmy b.

  6. How has Dr. Craft avoided explaining the blunt force trauma found by the second autopsy ? How has the Sheriff explained not calling the coroner as required by Georgia Law ? There have been far to many unanswered questions for me at this time . As Lieutenant S. Jones says ” dog-gone ” . I am now convinced after seeing another over weight PO-PO go on and on after years of this going on and on and on . Good try , I am not buying into your speech. 2bkck

    • Jim Moran says:

      The explanation can be found here.

      You are asking about what never existed. The GBI or LCSO haven’t backed up an inch.

      • Why would the GBI and LCSO back up, They are caught in the
        middle of a cover-up, Who would back up and give the appearance
        of being involved, Just be patient, Michael Moore will tell us
        what he has found in a few months, We should have a better
        understanding of what happened to the evidence at that time. We
        know evidence is missing. We need to know why, If Michael Moore
        gives a good explanation of why this evidence was destroyed then
        we’ll deal with it the, thank you, jimmy b.

        • amanda says:

          There is a lot of evidence missing and multiple people involved in destroying and tampering with evidence.

  7. William G. Jochimsen says:

    No mention is made of the tampered with video recording(s). No mention is made of the body being stuffed with newspapers after the internal organs were removed/discarded. Why would someone choose to climb down an upside down “tube” obviously taller than himself? Why would he have done this in essentially an empty gymnasium with no one else present?

  8. amanda says:

    Doesn’t answer any of the questions in his death. This is almost laughable, keep up the charade.

    • Phoebe Knows The Truth says:

      There’s no charade. There is no evidence of a murder. There is no missing evidence except his organs, which are not even evidence, because even the Johnsons’ own ME found the cause of death to be a bruise on his neck. The organs would have been gelatinous and fully decomposed by the time of the second autopsy, even if they had been buried with his corpse. Disposal of the viscera and filling the torso with newsprint is not illegal. That’s established. What’s almost laughable, if it weren’t so tragic, is your willingness to indict innocent kids for what amounted to an accident.

      • First of all you obviously have no education in Medicine, The
        missing body parts could shed light on hoe he was killed by
        suffocation or the blunt force trauma. The fluid in his lungs
        would help with that. Also, It could still be determined at a later
        date, The Missing Gym information on four cameras inside the gym
        is also very suspicious, What are the odds of the four cameras
        going out of the total 36 cameras on campus at the exact time when
        the Death ( Murder ) took place. One in a Million, You don’t even
        discuss the other factors that exist, Why do you think the Federal Government got involved anyway, Because they had nothing better to do, Apparently they felt something is wrong. So do many others, Time will tell. Jimmy B.

      • Leon Williams says:

        What is really sad is that the sheriff’s department let officer Jones even do this presentation. There are so many holes in his presentation you can see right threw it there far more unanswered questions than answered. The coroner refuse to sign the 1st death certificate WHY? The 2nd autopsy ruled blunt force trauma no mention the most important question of all is why would and 18 year young man climb into mat that he could have simple knock over like he had done many times before to get his shoes. And lastly how is it out of 41 or 42 cameras at Lowndes high the one you need to work at the time you needed to work was inop? Was there a work order for the camera? How long had the camera been broken? Did IT or Tech support know the camera was not working if so why was it not fixed? This is a sad case of people placing less value on one person versus another. When your connected it helps. I pray that one day someone will have the courage to tell the truth.

  9. ---a--- says:

    Let’s get real for one moment. Things happen to people. This kid had no motive for anyone to tamper with the investigation. He isn’t nor was the President or some prominent figure of society. He was another person like you and me. It’s horrible to see his life ended so soon, but I think it’s time people step past the conspiracy theories and begin the healing process. Accept it. He passed away. Celebrate his life and quit dragging this out.

    • Sorry A say, You are obviously ignorant of the facts in this case,
      The prosecutor has what little evidence is left, I’m sure he’ll find
      it very hard to prosecute anybody but I’m sure he’ll come back with a
      ruling that the kid was murdered, This is a really sad situation for
      anybody that is seeking the truth in this matter, I keep trying to
      tell everybody to wait for his findings, we can argue about it after
      he has completed his investigation. The Police have some explaining
      to do and that information will be delivered to us Via Michael Moore.
      It’s only a matter of time, He has to conclude something, That’s why
      his department excepted this investigation in the first place, After
      a year !!! He’s going to have to say what he’s been doing, patients
      please fellow Americans, thank you, jimmy b.