SAVANNAH, Ga. — The parents of a Georgia teenager whose body was found inside a rolled-up wrestling mat at school said Thursday they have a new reason to suspect signs of foul play were covered by investigators — their son was buried without his internal organs.
The body of Kendrick Johnson, 17, was found Jan. 11 in south Georgia. Lowndes County sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident, falling headfirst into an upright mat and becoming trapped. But Johnson's family believes he was killed and has been pressuring authorities into taking a second look at the case.
The teenager's family said Thursday that the Florida lawyer who helped push for a criminal prosecution in the shooting of Trayvon Martin has joined efforts to reopen an investigation into Johnson's death. His parents also revealed that when Johnson's body was exhumed over the summer for a second autopsy, the private pathologist discovered his organs were missing and newspaper had been used to fill the body cavity.
"I feel outraged about them stuffing my son's body with newspaper," Jaquelyn Johnson said.
Benjamin Crump, the lawyer who helped focus national attention on the 2012 shooting death of Martin by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, said the discovery raises questions about why Johnson's organs went missing and couldn't be examined in the follow-up autopsy the family requested.