A long-running investigation into a mysterious death at a Georgia high school has led to no official charges and a decision that there is insufficient evidence to continue the investigation.
As reported by the Moultrie Observer, the investigation into former Lowndes High student Kendrick Johnson has been officially called off after local and state investigators deemed his death an accident. Johnson was found dead in the school gym, trapped inside rolled up wrestling mats.
The teen’s death in 2013 was originally ruled an accident, as well, though his parents have continued to insist that the death was actually a racially-motivated murder perpetrated by two sons of an FBI agent.
Here’s the Department of Justice’s official announcement about the end of its investigation into Johnson’s death:
“Lawyers and investigators from the Department of Justice, the United States Marshal’s Service, and the Metropolitan Police Department for the District of Columbia, conducted a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the events surrounding Kendrick’s death. The investigation included, among other things, interviewing nearly 100 people; reviewing tens of thousands of emails and text messages; reviewing surveillance videos from Lowndes High School; and analyzing other available information regarding the events of January 10-11, 2013. The investigative team also consulted with an independent Department of Defense medical examiner and hired another independent medical examiner/forensic pathologist who reviewed relevant medical records and both autopsy reports.
“In order to establish a federal criminal civil rights violation in this case, the government would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt not only that someone killed Kendrick Johnson, but that the killing was motivated by racial animus. This legal standard – proving beyond a reasonable doubt that an act was committed, identifying who committed the specific act, and proving why they committed the act – is a high threshold to meet.
“After extensive investigation into this tragic event, federal investigators determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone or some group of people willfully violated Kendrick Johnson’s civil rights or committed any other prosecutable federal crime. Accordingly, the investigation into this incident has been closed without the filing of federal criminal charges.”
The new ruling is unlikely to end Johnson’s parents’ campaign for “justice” for their son, as they committed to on the third anniversary of his tragic passing in January.
Johnson was a beloved basketball player at Lowndes, and his death received additional scrutiny when it was determined that he was missing vital organs following his official autopsy. That led to the federal and state investigation which has now come to the same conclusion that prior efforts did; Johnson apparently died of a tragic accident, or at least that’s all that evidence can reasonably support.