In 2013 a 17-year-old boy's body was found rolled up in a high school gym mat. Local law enforcement was quick to rule it an accident and move on but the family is sure this is a case of murder being covered up.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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now that I've, given you your pro podcast tip of the day. Let me give you
what you came for and today's story makes my head hurt. I did all the research
and then my computer ate my research and to be fair. Those are usually some of our best episode
well. You know Tvd, let's see what the people say, but I had to research all over again and this case
did not want to be told that we've gotten so many requests for it and it's a we
eared one for me because, like I lost the research and
it might be a good thing because I swear every time you look at this case- you see something different
it's one where you can
go back and forth and back and forth, and really you can see whatever you
want in this case, depending on what lens you're viewing it from, depending on what kind of day you're having depending on like all of your circumstances. So
Do you want to tell everyone up top the photos in this case which we're gonna going to be talking a lot about and really this whole thing is based on a lot of photos. They were released by the family. There
very explicit. So you should not go to our website unless you're prepared for that, but again they're released by the family because they believe a cover up is taking place and they want people to be as outraged as they are. So the
only has posted them online they've given their permission, so we're not like violating their privacy, but I did
Warn you before you guys like get curious and go look with that. Let me tell you about the mysterious death.
On the evening of January tenth, two thousand and thirteen Kendrick Johnson's mother waited patiently for him to come home hi.
All had been let out for her youngest son just seventeen years old. It had been some time ago since they get out, but she didn't expect him
home right away. She knew that he was going to go to a basketball game after school but, as
major on it got later and later seven hundred o'clock, eight o'clock, one thousand one hundred o'clock and she started to become really worried. She tried his cell phone over and over again, but he wasn't,
picking up she ended up, doing drive bys around the school, but it was dark, completely closed down and she didn't see anyone without him coming home
Shortly after midnight, his mother filed a missing persons report with police
and by morning when her son still wasn't home, she didn't know what to do so. She headed back to the school if he was just out on
being a dumb teenager, like the police thought. This is where he would be at school, but the first Bell had rung and Kendra.
Wasn't there. His mother learns that he hadn't intended his third or his fourth period class is the day before MRS
Johnson is in a counselor's office trying to remain calm. Talking about making fires. When suddenly
the mood in the office shifted, a phone call had come in that changed everything.
But she didn't know what she wouldn't find out until later that morning is that they had found Kendrick still on the school's campus, and it looked like he'd been there since the day before the high school had two gyms that one they called the old gym and when they called the new gym in the old gym. Some students were hanging out before class when they saw something
The corner of the gym were a bunch of rolled up mat like cheerleading or wrestling mats. Now I should tell
you that on this day is now the 11th. This was just the third day back after winter break before winter break, those mats had been in the same place, but about half of them were rolled up and stand
vertically and the other half were rolled up and laying on the ground, but when all the students had come back from break, the mats were now all standing vertically and they were each about like six feet, tall ish in length. Okay, so these kids are looking at the role that mats and sticking straight up out of one of the top they,
see something like white sticking out, so they climb the little bleachers to go, get a better look and when they glanced down into the mat, it looks like a sock like maybe even a whole foot and at first the thought they had to have
had is like. What's this kid doing, like he's just messing around he's playing in the mats, they try and talk
whoever's in there do you need help getting out. How did you get in there to begin with, but soon it becomes apparent that who's eh
we're in that Matt isn't moving and they need help. The kids can't pull the mats down
themselves, so they run to get a faculty member and the teacher is able to pull down the mat. There is definitely someone in there. Somebody who seems to be unconscious simultaneously. Police are called, and I assume it was the smell of decomposition that told everyone to back away
not to proceed any further with trying to get this person out because nobody unrolled them at and it was left laying on the ground still tightly wrapped around an unknown person. Until police arrived on the scene.
When police got there. It didn't take long before they were able to identify the person rolled up in the mat as seventeen year Old Kendrick Johnson,
his family was notified, only that he was found, but it would take them some time before they would get the whole story and in fact they still don't believe they ever got the whole story. They believe that the whole story is something they've had to piece together on their own. In the opposition of the school and law enforcement and other county officials, Kendrick's body was barely off school property before the sheriff was making an official announcement about what happened,
official story that comes to the family and to the public. Is this the sheriff says that on January tenth Kendrick had some kind of fitness class for his next period so
He went to the old gym where he had hidden a pair of sneakers. I guess him and another kid shared them for their gym classes, and the school would actually make kids pay for lockers to store their stuff
and and Kendrick in this other friend didn't want to so him and his buddy would hide their shoes in these rolled up mats and they weren't the only ones who did
like? Apparently, this is like a known thing around school. Well, when Kendrick
back from winter break, he had a problem. The math that he stored his shoes in was always late,
on the ground. But now
did that random clean up over winter break, screwed, every
enough and now the math that he stored his shoes in were standing straight up somewhere at the bottom of one of those, because there was like a number of them in the corner of the gym. Wouldn't this have been his second day back from break, though I'm confused. Why didn't he realize it changed the day before well from what I can pick up: Kendricks High School,
actually like the high school that I went to, we had what we called golden black days. Those our high school colors
and so alternating schedule yeah. So you would have four classes one day for classes, the other an you alternate each time. So I have to assume that when he came
back to school. In the ninth he didn't have his fitness class and but then he did have it on the tenth, oh yeah. That makes a ton
home schooled over here. Okay, so the sheriff said that they believed Kendrick climbed the bleachers on to the mats looking for his shoes until he spotted them at the bottom of one of them, then he proceeded to
wiggle his way down through the mat to get them but got stuck unable to move a
Lee unable to breathe and due to his positioning, they said that he hung upside down until he died from positional asphyxiation. What
so. According to everything, I've looked up. Positional asphyxiation is basically the idea that you're in some kind of position that prove
since you from breathing properly and and can lead like, ultimately to your death and
really strange. I'm going to go into the research of this like later on in the episode, but it's super
hard to diagnose. It's almost one of those things
is that they say
happens when they rule everything else out, but they basically said like he was
upside down. He constructed his own airways, he blocked the air from
coming into the mat, and he just suffocated
die so it might be kind of a catch, although exactly so they're saying like yes, this is tragic and it's horrific, but it's just a really unfortunate accident. I still I'm just like you. He died from being suspended upside down. Essentially, is that what you're saying yeah this has to be like in the middle of school day? Did anybody hear him call for help, or did anybody hear or see this? This just seems like someone had to have seen something right, so you're getting into all this stuff that I have problems with, or I don't fully understand the stuff that hurts my bring the most about this case because the gym he was in. We know they call it the old gym
but it was still used and at the time that Kendrick went into that Matt, there were actually kids playing basketball in that very Jim, and this isn't even like a big Jim. I remember when I heard about the story for the very first time people talking about the bleachers
and the gym and these mats. I imagined like a story: high stack of bleachers like
huge high school that I went to maybe like four court, something really big. It's what I had like
my mind and I
okay, it's more of like what you had in middle school. Isn't it yeah, so I like in my mind, if it's a huge gym, I get maybe why nobody likes, saw or heard anything, but I have
video on our website or a picture that you can go look at of the actual Jim Amber. I'm gonna send it to you. It's astonishing, like I
again, this is what I can't wrap. My brain around this gym is so small. I don't know how he wasn't seen or if he called out for help. I don't know how he wasn't heard. Oh you're, so right this is a tiny jim. The bleachers are like what I used to sit on at my brother's soccer game.
Ames when he was like hey there to rose high like yeah there's, nothing leaders is a strong word, they're stacked benches honestly and that they get the place. So this, if you go on our website crime, Turkey, podcast dot com, you can see this jam, it's just
One court and in the mainframe is like where kids were playing basketball and then you can see the mats where he was found in the corner, so I can't find
anything about his exact time of death, so I can't say with any certainty, but I am
imagine that if this was an accident was
had do have died immediately from being upside down. Otherwise, why? Wouldn't? He have called out for help? I mean. Maybe it was embarrassing that he got stuck like in high school.
I and you and all of us, I think we're dramatic teens- and I remember being like- oh my god- I'd rather die than having someone catch me in this,
stupid position or like getting stuck uh just like mortifying, and maybe that's what he felt, because no one actually thinks they're gonna die just by hanging upside down.
Or maybe he thought he was okay and by the time he was losing air, he was losing consciousness and it was too late.
I mean yeah, maybe or maybe there's another explanation, one that the family would raise, despite the investigators telling them that they were wrong when the family her.
And that their son died from being upside down in a rolled up, gym mat everything about this felt wrong to them. There's no way this kind of accent. It just doesn't happen. They'd never heard of any kind of death like this before and where
What the hell was everyone. Why didn't anyone help him? If this was an accident at first, I think the public just thought
This was a grieving family who couldn't accept the sad truth, but as the family got more and more support behind them as they got acts,
as to records and were finally allowed to see Kendrick's body. There was an outpour of support from the communities near and far because they were right, so much didn't make sense and they started this avalanche by posting pictures of Kendrick after death
for the whole world to see and Brett, are you ready and again this is warning to our listeners. This is the picture that you can't unsee again, it was posted by the family. It's out there with their permission and hopes to gain more support, but be careful before you go to our website. Bret. I'm gonna send this to you and if you could give me your thoughts, if you were to see this picture for the first time, what you might think is this kid just like rolled up in a gym mat by accident
I actually you asked me to describe a lot of things on this podcast and honestly. This is one that I, I am not sure I can well, and this is the picture that his family points to to end says
that he had been beaten to death as something more had happened, because the point of this is proof like how does someone looks like that unless something was done to them right. So it's it's a side by side of Kendrick, alive and contract post mortem
and his face is swollen and almost unrecognizable as human. To be honest, his upper lip is
hole in his eyes are swollen nearly shut. It's it's a truly graphic, graphic image
yeah one of the most graphic like post mortem pictures. I've seen posted online, and so this picture is what got everyone outraged and got people like even high up people in the government to take a second look at this case, but what the family didn't disclose for a long time was that this picture wasn't actually taken right after Kendrick was found. This picture was him after the autopsy and like the family, had taken this at the funeral home. So there's actually another picture on our website. You can see of him right after the incident and it is far less gruesome. It is still post mortem, it still graphic, but it's nothing to this extent and part of the reason is in autopsy what they have to do- and this is this is graphic, but
They have to split open the skull and kind of peel back the skin to expose the skull and then get the brain. So the fact that his skin had been pulled back makes him look even more stray.
Change than he normally would right after death. Like all that's why all of this skin on his forehead had been scrunched forward? It's not from swelling it's not from a beating. It's from the fact that in this autopsy, his skin had literally been pulled forward, which makes it look. Super scary, super strange, so is
Facial features had actually been manipulated to a certain extent, exactly not maliciously, but just not where they should
yeah and I'm not even saying the family did this maliciously. I don't think they had access to the pictures of him right after this was just the first time they were able to go, see their son.
But I can't imagine going and seeing that as the first time you see your son.
I can absolutely imagine why they were
outraged and believe, there's no way he was just hanging upside down. So this picture, like I said, was the picture that
momentum behind the family and it caused enough of a stir that the family got people to look at the other evidence at the scene, and it's that evidence that's kept. People talking.
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bad hair days behind you with the Pantene rose water collection by your side, all right now back to the show the first piece of evidence that they re looked at
is the mat itself you see the at, like, I said, had been rolled up and
The diameter of the opening was about fourteen inches shoulders were nineteen
five inches wider than the opening in the mat yeah many people say that he physically wouldn't have been able to crawl into that Matt that it wouldn't have been physically possible, and that means he must have been rolled up inside of it. Okay, but
if he was rolled up in sight of it you'd think they'd roll around his body, which again is at least nineteen inches wide at some point and not like squeeze him extra tight to this fourteen inch to that Diane.
Alright. Well, I don't know this is one of those things that I think can look. Whichever way you want it too, based on how you look at the case like his dad there's pictures of him trying to crawl in and he says that he was unable to, and I've got a picture of him on the website he's on all fours he's about the same size as Kendrick I mean yeah. He can't even get a shoulders through he's
definitely not going to make it all the way through that that rolled up mad. Well, it's okay! I get that and I get what they're trying to prove with this picture. But the problem to me is if there's something at the bottom of the map,
you don't go in like with your shoulders. At your side, you put one or both of your hands above your head and try to make your shoulders as slim or as small as possible, right so like
diving position right and when we see photographs from Kendrick when he was actually pulled out of the mat which we also have on the website. He had one hand above and one near his way. So I think, by dangling your body, you could probably make your cell.
Smaller, and I think that's what he was doing and remember he's reaching for that shoe at the bottom,
the Maxwell and gravity is on his side at in this picture. The mat is horizontal on the ground, just laying with the opening that he can be on all fours, but Kendricks going head first down right. Yes, so I can kind of see how he would angle his way and how he would get gravity to like help push him down. But just when I- and probably you are thinking okay, it seems like an accident there's more. The second piece of evidence that got brought up were the shoes all of the issues in this case, and let's
talk about the shoes found at the top of the mat near Kendrick's feet first, but not on his feet, the shoes that he was wearing that day, we're kind of rolled up in the mat with him, but I'm gonna send you this picture for you to take a look at it kind of describe to people okay, so we are looking down into the mat. You can see Kendricks feet and part of his legs, maybe almost up to his knee and right behind his name are a pair of sneakers and they aren't on his feet. Obviously, and they kind of look like they've been tucked behind his legs to keep them safer.
With I'm, not even sure, but they it seems hard to believe that they would have just fallen in after him, yeah so weird place for them to be an people who believe Kendrick was murdered, say that whoever killed him put those shoes in there with the body to hide that
I mean how else would they have gotten there? Well, the only thing I can think of- and these aren't perfect excuses is maybe he he
them off before going into the mat like. Maybe he set them on top of the mat and then as he
so then they fell and then, as
he moved in, like wiggled his way through
Maybe they fell down with him and kind of got
stuck there, but again, they're like very tucked behind his knee yeah. They kind of
stacked in there like, like I stack shoes when
trying to pack. The second thing that I can think
I is maybe that he had them on
He went in and then he started to realize that he was getting stuck and maybe started to panic and he's like kicking off his shoes, kicking up anything that would make him wider or
bulkier or, like anything that was inhibiting him from getting free, well or even a
you think about him, trying to literally back pedal back.
Yeah using his feet to leverage back, they could have slipped off. His heel and kind of flung are
a little bit, especially if he was wiggling a ton
yeah, and that makes probably the most sense to me. I mean nothing quite explains at one hundred percent away, but to
so these are questionable shoes, but not the most perplexing shoes in this case. So the other shoe that we have to look at as evidence.
The shoe underneath work, Hendricks body was found the one that he was reaching for so underneath his body. There is a pool of blood at the bottom of the at, and you
I understand so all of Kendricks blood was draining to his face, he's hung upside down,
and so now it's coming out of the orifices in his face, which would be expected either way
whether he was murdered. Whether this is an accident, so blood is pulling. We talked about this in the none of episode. Exactly so that's expected. What is totally on
expected is this. The shoe that he is seemingly reaching for is on top of the pool of blood. I'm sorry what yet but take a look at this and see if you can explain the
sure, and if you can find any reason that the shoe would be on top of the blood but actually have no blood on it. To me, it's the strangest thing in the case. Okay, so there's a decently from what I can tell from this picture sized pool of blood in this picture. There is a lot of blood towards the bottom of the picture.
And it kind of trickles or spills out towards the middle of the page and then right in the middle of the page is.
Black sneaker and it it's in the blood it's on the blood, but there is no blood on top of
at all, like not right, and even though it's a black seeker like it has white piping or lining. So it's not like it's black. We can't see the blood. There is no blood on this. Not at all. So I don't know what can explain this like in my mind. Okay, maybe he was like a whole. He actually got
And he was holding it and like dropped it when he became unconscious, but you would think that blood with maybe still be flowing
when that happened, or you think, maybe you would have dropped it sooner right. I mean a little bit of devil's advocate unless he had maybe tucked the shoe up
into himself more as if you're already feeling stuck. Why would you like to talk another shoe like? Why would you even make your space smaller like that, doesn't make
ends to me a lot. A lot doesn't make sense, but that, like that, makes no sense to me, I mean, but if he's trying
to get back out using like his elbows to edge himself back out, maybe I mean and then realizing he gets stuck and that's kind of what happens and as he loses consciousness, he loses control of his
souls and then the shoe drops into blood, but it's still
a lot of blood for him to be completely conscious through. In my opinion,
So the only other scenarios to me- or maybe
It was moved by like sloppy crime scene technicians before they took the picture, wouldn't be the first time right, or maybe this was all staged by somebody which again is what the families alleging over and over. The third piece of evidence that is controversial is the blood found in the gym. There was a streak on the wall and there were some in the girls bathroom on some paper towels and now both of these samples didn't match
Kendrick when they did testing. But the weird part is that they didn't do any further testing to see, maybe who it would match to. They basically were like. Oh, it's not Kendricks. There really
old samples. It's too
a harmless. The end which is
fine, if this truly is an accident and again what the sheriff's office is alleging, but the
problem. Is now that Kendricks families asking questions asking questions we have trouble. Answering those questions now, because
none of the evidence at the scene was collected and stored for future testing, and really no
testing was done other than eliminating it from the victim. So there was even a sweat
found on the opposite side of the gym that was never collected. The shoe
we're not kept for evidence and it just felt like to the family and
to the public and really even to me that the
least in the sheriff's office, or whoever had really decided what had happened, and they didn't give any thought to pray
serving anything in case this needed to be retested or reinvestigated. Now. The final piece of evidence that I think is probably most talked about online is the video footage of cat
direct going to the gym. The school had a lot of cameras, but somehow there was no footage of the events that
that day the camera trained on the mats was out of focus and didn't really pick up
anything. I know, because I mean
if they would, we wouldn't be talking about it years later like this would be done. The other
members in the area were motion detected so depending on how close or far away the subject in the frame was it
would or would not trigger the camera to come on, and so this gives some of the footage and appearance of kids like appear
Bing and then disappearing, which for a law
time made people think that the footage was altered and it didn't help that all of the time stamps seem to be a little bit different. Making people think that spots of the video were edited out. So on top of all of this, the family
get the footage right away. Now it's been reported all over the internet, internet the family had to sue to get the footage released and that's partially true, like the true part parties
didn't get it right away, but school footage can't just be released due to the family, educational rights and Privacy ACT is Ferpa and Ferb requires that there has to be a court order to release the video. So it's not like the school or the sheriff's office was being cagey. They just had to go through the right legal steps to
He said so right, because this is footage of minors without any release. I totally get a boatload of minors right, so they had to get back,
court order to get this released, but it
actually wasn't even the family, who obtained a court order, ended up being somebody else, and apparently the
only was given multiple opportunities to view the footage with the police or the school, and they actually declined those all together. Okay, but that doesn't really change the idea that it might be
edited right. Well right, when CNN got the tape. After this legal battle, they concluded that the timestamps were off, because all of the cameras were going to different servers. There was like six cameras, six servers, they weren't sink TW, but there was still like an hour plus worth of footage missing as well. I don't really get how that's possible, I feel, like police are usually pretty thorough, especially with a court order in collecting evidence like that. So here's the problem again. They didn't collect it themselves
They just asked it at the school to hand it over. They didn't have one of their text Ryan retrieve it. So so this wasn't like law and order weird right. So maybe it was
but maybe it was corrupted or lost unintentionally, but they allowed the school to have time with it and then turn over whatever they thought was pertinent, which seems like a really
had moved to me. So, with all of this general Ficinus, the family gets enough back
in the community that the attorney general of Georgia at the time and the and the Michael Moore decided to re open the case, and we investigate note. This was huge for the family as a part of the reinvestigation. They were going to get approval to have Kendrick's body exhumed and get a second autopsy and what they find in this. Second autopsy only deepens the mystery of this case. We Kendrick's body is exam, a second autopsy is performed and the medical examiner is shocked. Kendricks organs are all
missing wait. What yeah, where his vital organs should have been, including his brain, the medical examiner found newspaper.
Now during a normal autopsy organs are all removed and tested, and sometimes they're replaced, especially in controversial cases, so that they are available for future testing right there preserved somewhere else,
right. So if they aren't back in the body, they're usually stored somewhere else for testing, but is it normal to re stuff those places with newspaper that seems really bleak and gruesome, so this is actually a practice that was done like
ten plus years ago, it's more common. Now that if organs aren't replaced, the body cavities would be filled with a cotton, but the most common
theory around. Why newspaper over cotton was used in this specific case, isn't like anything to do with some kind of controversy like the
funeral home was cleared of.
Like legal wrongdoing. They basically found. So it's like a common practice at this point. Well, you yeah. I I mean it wasn't again. It was kind of outdated, but basically what they found was at the funeral home had offered to do all the preparations for free for the family.
So I think maybe they might have just been cutting corners like not
gazing at all. How much this case was going to blow up later? Okay that excuses that sort of oddity, but are the organs just missing altogether? Are they just
gone yes, so the Gbi, who did the original autopsy shows written proof that the funeral home had like sign a document saying that they received everything. So
either the funeral home lost it they destroyed it or which I think could be the most likely
they probably just signed it without really taking inventory like you get a piece of paper. Yes, I have everything sign, sign, sign date here, and the funeral home also signed a document that they had possession of his clothes that he was wearing that day. But mysteriously
all of that's missing too, like nothing can be retested, not his organs, not the clothes he was wearing. All that was said to have made its way to
funeral home, but after the
that, like no one? Can account for it so now
having the organs or the clothes was a big setback for the family, but they still moved forward with the autopsy and the met
examiner didn't need the organs to see something he thought was pretty strange.
There was a bruise on Kendrick around his neck that the medical examiner said was indicative of blunt force trauma after examining the whole body he kept coming back to this bruise. This bruise was the
answer. So this medical examiner released a new official report and this is what it reads under cause of death. Blunt force trauma right neck involving right, mandible and soft tissue, including the area of the carotid body consistent with inflicted injury. Note unexplained apparent non accidental, but
force trauma. Further investigation is indicated to determine the ideology of the injuries so that whole autopsy report is available in this blog post for the episode on our website,
but this ruling was massive. They had a reputable professional telling them
your son's death was not an accident and this fueled their fire
made them even more determined to get justice for their son. Did Kendricks family have a general theory of what they think happened, or were they just fueled by the idea that this wasn't an accident? We don't
what happened, but we're going to get to the bottom of it. They had a theory according to the families. Some fourteen months before Kendrick STAT, he got into a fight with another football player on a bus like it to have been a week game on the way home. Something like that and people say that these two kids candor can
other kid were friends. The Johnson family insists they were never friends, but the family points to this fight and says
over months and months, tensions just grew, and it was this boy and his brother and a friend who attacked Kendrick in the gym that day and at first
who are vague about the names of these high school boys, but after months and then years go by with really nothing happening. The family started posting these kids names on Facebook and they were tired of waiting for justice and they were few
curious, because they were sure that the connections these boys had to law enforcement is what was
keeping them from getting arrested. What kind of connections do these kids have so the two brothers that are the same
of this theory were sons of an FBI agent, and it was the family's theory that the agent
was like orchestrating this entire cover up from the top controlling the school controlling the parents of the school, the students, the sheriff's office,
the Gbi, the medical examiner
online you'll, see a lot about these brothers and where they might have been that day
and what we learned is like that. You know the John
and family naturally like,
for her and they feel that this is right and they're saying that everything's a cover up.
What we learn is that one of the brothers, with c
on surveillance, video in another wing of the school, at the time that all this is happening
and the other one had an alibi for being at a wrestling tournament and that wrestling
liniment holy crap like lit up the internet, because at first this kid who was at this tournament tweeted to someone that
like basically, I couldn't have done it because I'm at this wrestling match from the ninth tenth and eleven.
Well, then it's found out that the bus for this tournament or this man
or whatever didn't leave until the tenth. So
everyone is like, oh my god, he's covering his trail. This is a big cover up and then everyone
trying to clear it up- and it's like no no like that was a mistake- was just like you know he was mistaken, but the bus still left at one thousand two hundred and thirty. This is an hour before
you're went into the gym. We know he was alive and well, but then some
find a travel log that says, or what,
they say online that it says that the bus didn't leave till four and then some
or you know, go into a rage again saying this is all cover up. The parents are covering up the students are covering up, but what I think it comes down to it's actually, a pretty logical explanation for all of this, like quote, lie
it wasn't actually a travel log that they were looking at. It was a trip request that the teacher had made the months.
Four weeks before showing the time of the event. So the event started at four o'clock, not what time they would have left to get there. So, although the
There's a ton of smoke around this. It seemed at the end
the day. No one could find a fire, no one could place either. One of these boys
anywhere near the gym at the time of Kendricks death and years of back and forth when
between these families, the johnsons even tried to take the other family to civil court, but eventually they had to drop the loss
suit- and then they were slapped with like an order from the families asking for
two hundred thousand dollars in legal fees and damages
though they were never named officially as suspects or person of interest one.
The brother is actually lost. His full ride, scholarship to college because of all the controversy around his name- and this case so it's
that there were all these rumors swirling, all this suspicion building, but nothing solid was coming from it and this
case, drug on and lawyer after a lawyer ended up dropping the Johnson family, even Michael Moore. In twenty sixteen closed the case and a FED
review of the case ruled that the teen's death was accidental and the Department of Justice said they
and find any sufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges and a quote from the ruling actually says quote after an extensive investigation into this tragic event. Federal investigators determined that there is,
insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone or a group of people will
really violated Kendrick, Johnson's civil rights or committed any other prosecutable federal crime, and quote,
So that was in twenty sixteen and they were feeling pretty defeated. But in that same year twenty sixteen
just when you might have thought everyone was giving up an unexpected group entered the picture. This episode of crime junkie is brought to you by Buffy. Buffy makes super soft earth friendly bedding because
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and enter code crime junkie for twenty dollars off your bedding, you got to try it for yourself right now, back to our show. Britt have you ever heard of the group?
anonymous before yeah. So do you want to give the listeners kind of a scoop on who they are if anyone's like in the dark? Anonymous is sort of a they are the group that kind of made the media coined the term hacktivist. They are a group of anonymous people who hack into all sorts of things and create all sorts of havoc, seemingly for
good of the public, usually huge organizations or controversial.
Have you seen v for vendetta, yeah great people with the masks like they they've, been called kind of like the original domestic online terrorists right so.
Something about this case- I don't know quite what it was caught: their attention and
I mean I don't know what it was. It's the fact that they really believe
that they thought there is this idea of a cover up? They thought it was rooted in systemic racism. We thought it was worth looking into uh yeah and they ended up making a ten minute video that kind of lays out all of the really shady stuff and they posted it online for the world to see and here's a clip of that chilling
YO that was released
we are anonymous on the evening of January tenth, two thousand and seven
eighteen year old, Kendrick Johnson, a sophomore at Lowndes High School in Valdosta. Georgia was,
reported missing by his mother, Jackie and bust
for Lowndes County schools. He had one
school that morning, but did not
return home, so his mother called nine hundred and eleven. The following day, Kj's body, was discovered inside of a gym Latin Lowndes, high schools, old Jim, the
superintendent West Taylor's two daughters were the first to discover, came J
body by seeing a pair of feet with white Sox taking out of the vertical rolled dim at the
Students notified teachers and they move the gym mat to the floor. Exposing Kj's body still in the gym at local authority
were called as well.
Is the Georgia Bureau of investigations. Both law
enforcement agencies were on the scene for hours before the coroner was called, which is
violation of Georgia. Law
text that arrived on scene said. The scene should be considered a crime scene. They were aware that the scene they were it was that if a homicide, the param
text noticed bruising on Kj's body
cluding bruises to his neck and face the law
Forcement agencies did not secure the area with crime scene tape, as they already had a theory in places to what happened there. A
story is that Kj lose shoulders. Measured. Nineteen inches wide, don't had
first into a six foot. Long rolled up gym mat with the whole of
fourteen inches wide two
obtain a shoe. The gym,
that's true theory doesn't work. There is no way that teenager would dive head first into a mat propped up in the corner of the gym to get a shoe while holding his headphones in his hand, if alone
is impossible, that his sneakers would end up. On top of him came. J
issues were most likely taken off of him, so his killers could more easily fit his body into the mat while rolling it up from the
restart came J
family, never believe the story of the at it was only the second day back after Christmas Break that kj was killed. Lowndes high
school was supposed to hand over all surveillance video. The morning Kj's body was discovered. The
text said there was a problem and supposedly handed over video days later came J.
His family had to sue the school in court to get access to it, CN
and also gain access to it and called experts in to evaluate these experts said there was hours missing from the cameras right outside the gym. With all
discrepancies of evidence
demo knees and witnesses,
we call bullshit on the official story, so it has the FED
prosecutor who opened an investigation in October, two thousand and thirteen administrator
internet rounds high school, told students if they dropped their graduation would be threatened. Them
people of ass to know a cover up has taken place and it local law enforcement will harass and arrest them for providing false statements. The people are afraid of the backlash if they come forward the time,
is come for those people to join the fight for justice, expose the core
for who they are
suppose the racism that is alive and well involve Astra. The time has come to stand against the oppressors and fight for the truth. We are anonymous. We are legion, we do
forgive. We do not forget Lounge
County Georgia. You should have
affected us. So did that video change anything.
I think it made a stir in the community again and got people on each side. Riled up- and you know we didn't touch on a time
son but when I say each side for a long time, the aspect of race played greatly into this case with the African America
Community, believing that it was murder and the white commune
he's saying that it was an accident and even in twenty thirteen racism in Valdosta Georgia, where this took place was still
very much alive and real. So I think it would be super clear to see how perhaps a young black kid
wouldn't get. The same treatment by law enforcement or, at the very least, why the family would be just
defied in believing that he did especially with all the sloppiness, the losing his
organs. The lack of collecting evidence like we saw a ton of stuff that should have
been done. That wasn't was that done, because the police officer
or the sheriff's office wasn't capable, or was it done because race
this is still very much alive and well there in twenty thirteen, and they didn't take this case as seriously because this was a young black man
so, even though Anonymous called them out. It really didn't do anything different. The family requested a third autopsy into
one thousand and eighteen and in November, that two came back as not accidental.
It was kind of an addendum to the second and it actually narrowed down the point of attack even further saying that his death was due, to quote blunt force, trauma to his right neck and right thorax, which is the body cavity between the neck and the abdomen, and quote along with this third autopsy in two thousand and eight
eighteen. The Johnson family also provided authorities with an affidavit from a witness who says that an acquaintance confessed to them that they had killed.
Kendrick by striking him in the neck, with a forty five pound weight or Dumbbell Kendricks mom says
All of this information, the affidavit the third autopsy was all passed on to the Lowndes County, Sheriff's office and they're, trying still actively to get
case reopened. Now this was November of twenty eighteen. As of the time of this recording in April,
one thousand and nineteen there's been no news as to whether or not anyone is going to be taking a new look at the case
you are so right. This is making my brain hurt. Now I told you like, with the
didn't I sometimes think it was an accent. There was no blood found on the stuff he was carrying or like
his lower extremities you'd think that if he got hit with a weight or something like there would be, some kind of blood flow
well on him. Like that's gravity, you think we'd see some blood on his lower half before he was rolled up, but this also just seems like such a freak accident, and I keep saying to myself like what are the odds. So this is what I was saying earlier. I kind of had to look up the odds. I had to look on some more information on this positional asphyxia
We found this scientific paper that was done based on cases in Lithuania and basically the on all of the autopsies done from twenty ten to twenty. Sixteen positional asphyxia only accounted do you want to guess how many like what
sentenced for have how many of the autopsies one maybe point: zero three whoa yeah, it's so weird cause of death like when someone strain
girl. You look for that broken hyoid bone. When someone drowns, you look for water in their lungs with this one, like we said earlier in the episode, there's like nothing that you're looking for your.
Typically it's like, I ruled out everything else. They were in a weird position. This is the only thing that's left so from the same study
was done in twenty eighteen. It said that positional asphyxia wasn't even a thing until one thousand nine hundred and ninety two and since then, there's only been thirty
seven known cases- and I read a couple of them and
We all all it like. I mean almost like Kendrick's case. They seem crazy. Like one guy was on his tractor, he wasn't following safety protocol. He got stuck upside down and then
died from being upside down and then a
another one. There was this obese woman who got stuck between her bed and her wall
all upside down somehow, and she ended up
being that way, so it does happen, but it seems to happen so
call rarely, and there is even
still a debate about whether it's a thing and some research says you know. We can't like conclusively replicate this an elaborate
sorry, so we shouldn't be using it as a cause of death like it's still.
Yes, in some researchers, mind like not even kind of expect,
until like maybe we haven't found the real and we're just giving it this blanket name like back in the day when they used to say someone just like died of natural cause.
There's like no there's are they everything consumption, whatever yeah so
I know that it's a little more science and not so much true crime, but I think it's important to understand because it's what this whole thing revolves around like. Could he really have died by getting stuck in a mat that is six feet tall?
and like one hundred feet away from somebody else like look at those mats again, Brett like they look so honest,
Zooming I would have jumped in one to get my shoe and I would have never ever ever ever ever thought that I was jumping in
something dangerous or like into a dangerous situation, no, I completely agree yeah.
They said there's a lot about this case that says accident to me, but what I can't get over and will bring it back to the very beginning of the episode.
Is, why didn't he cry out for help and if he did,
How did no one hear him and it's that not the phone
is the blood evidence it's this idea of him
crying out for help that keeps me thinking about this case? Did he die so fast that he didn't know what was happening? Did he
fallout Benone heard him or was he dead before he ever went into that Matt? I don't know.
If ever going to get a real answer, but what I will say is that if Kendrick's parents believe
leave? There is more to this story. They should keep fighting. We didn't episode just a cup
weeks ago on Jerry, Michael Williams.
Everyone in that story believe that his death was an accident except for his mother and for almost twenty years she fought with police and the public. They called her crazy. They told her to give up, but in the end she was right
and maybe we'll find out in the end that Kendrick's parents
right all along too
a lot of photos and videos that were referenced today. This is probably the craziest like beefy is flawed, because we've ever done so make sure to check it out on our website. So you can make an informed opinion on this case. Just go to crime, junkie, podcast, dot, com and click on the episodes length but again be warmed. A lot of these images are very graphic. Yeah. We probably will not be posting them on social media, but you can still follow us we're on Instagram at crime, junkie, podcast and on twitter at crime, Jack Ipod, and we will be back next week with a brand new episode. Okay,
crime junkie is an audio check production. So what do you think Chuck? Do your brew,
Transcript generated on 2019-09-25.