Kendrick Johnson vanished on January 10, 2013. The following day his body was discovered inside a rolled up wrestling mat in the Lowndes High School gymnasium. Authorities determined the 17-year-old Georgia teen was killed in a freak accident.
Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine said an autopsy confirmed the boy’s death was accidental. He said the students regularly changed into “their nice shoes” before basketball practice. They kept their shoes under the wrestling mats so they were easily accessible and out of the way.
Sheriff Prine believes Johnson’ shoes fell inside the mat. He said it appears that the teen was trapped when he climbed inside to retrieve them:
“We found the shoes he was wearing in the mat with him, and the tennis shoes that he’s wearing in the basketball photo are the ones we found by the mat.”
Kendrick Johnson’s family does not believe his death was accidental. In an attempt to uncover the truth, the family’s attorneys requested video footage that was recorded on the day of his death.
As reported by CNN, the footage was reviewed by forensic video analyst Grant Fredericks. As a consultant for the US Justice Department and an instructor with the FBI National Academy, Fredericks has extensive experience with video analysis.
The footage was compiled from 31 different cameras which are installed throughout the school. Fredericks determined that Johnson was present in approximately 18 minutes worth of footage. He last appeared at 1:09 pm as he entered the gymnasium where he eventually died.
Fredericks did not see anything in the footage to indicate how Johnson died. However, he is concerned that more than an hour worth of footage is missing:
” [The footage has] been altered in a number of ways, primarily in image quality and likely in dropped information, information loss.. a number of files that are corrupted because they’ve not been processed correctly… they were not done thoroughly… we’re missing information.”
The expert analyst said the missing footage is “highly suspicious.”
Despite the family’s questions, authorities closed the investigation into Kendrick Johnson’s death. In an interview with The Valdosta Daily Times, Sheriff Prine said the investigation was thorough, and he is satisfied with the results.