Family: Teen's body was missing organs before second autopsy

Family: Teen's body was missing organs before second autopsy

Kendrick Johnson, 17, of Valdosta, was found dead Jan. 11. Kendrick Johnson, 17, of Valdosta, was found dead Jan. 11.

The family of a Valdosta teenager found dead inside of a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school is questioning the cause of death.

Kendrick Johnson, 17, was found dead in of a rolled-up wrestling mat at Lowndes County High School on Jan. 11. State medical examiners determined the teen died after getting stuck inside of the gym mat.

However, a private pathologist hired by the family said the teen had blunt force trauma to his neck.

The family's lawyers believe that the death was not accidental.

"The question of whether it was a homicide or an accident, we think that issue has been settled," said lawyer Chevene King. "Now the next question is: who was involved in causing his death? "

The private pathologist told FOX 5 that when Johnson's body arrived for examination, it had no organs and the boy was stuffed with newspapers. That pathologist found that the death wasn't accidental.

The family is calling for the release of surveillance video from the school gym.

"These parents sent their child to school with his book bag; he was returned to them in a body bag," said Ben Crump, a lawyer for the family. "This is tragic, and as attorney King said, there is an objective eyewitness: that videotape. "

The family has requested the video several times, but the county said they can't release it because it's part of academic record, making it an exception to Georgia's Open Record laws.

Crump is a Tallahassee-based attorney who helped push for a prosecution in Trayvon Martin's fatal shooting.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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