VALDOSTA, G.A.-- When a doctor performed a second autopsy on 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson, he was shocked by what he found.
Dr. Bill Anderson determined the teen died from a blow to the neck,
but he also made another discovery: some of Johnson's organs were
missing. His lungs, heart and brain were not there, and the body was
stuffed with newspaper.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation claims Johnson's organs were
placed back in his body after the first autopsy, but the Valdosta
funeral home that enbalmed him said the organs were discarded before the
body was sent to them.
For the local sheriff's department, Johnson's death is a closed book: A tragedy, but an accident.
State medical examiners concluded that Johnson suffocated in January
after getting stuck in a rolled-up gym mat while reaching for a sneaker.
That's a finding his family has never accepted, and one challenged by
the findings of a second autopsy they commissioned.
Now, death scene imagery obtained exclusively by CNN has led a former FBI agent to question how the three-sport athlete died.
"I don't believe this was an accident. I think this
young man met with foul play," said Harold Copus, now an Atlanta private
And Johnson's father, Kenneth Johnson, said he believes authorities aren't leveling with his family.
"They know something happened in that gym, and they don't want it to come out," he said.
A 15-minute video and nearly 700 photos taken by sheriff's
investigators in Lowndes County documented the horrific scene. Johnson's
body, clad in jeans and and layered orange and white T-shirts, was
found wedged into a rolled-up wrestling mat in January. His face was
bloated with pooled blood, some of which had poured out of his body,
soaking his dreadlocks and spilling onto the floor.