Death of Georgia teen found rolled in gym mat to be reinvestigated


Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia.

Federal investigators will reopen the murder case of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson, who was found dead rolled inside of a wrestling mat in January in an incident that county officials deemed a "freak accident."

The Valdosta teen was found dead at Lowndes High School, in an incident that Johnson's parents refused to accept as an accident. 

US Attorney Michael Moore agrees: FBI agents and federal prosecutors are now involved in the case and will conduct a formal review, according to NBC News.

"They never believed he died the way the sheriff concluded. They believe that it defies logic, the laws of physics as well as common sense," said family attorney Benjamin Crump to Fox News. "They think this is a cover-up to protect the person or people responsible for their son’s death."

Moore said he decided to reopen the Johnson case after he spoke to people involved in the investigation and reviewed police documents, concluding that there was more to the matter than a mishap. 

"My objective is to discover the truth and I believe that can only be done by gathering all the evidence and relevant information surrounding Johnson's death," said Moore, according to CBS News. 

Moore has said that if he uncovers enough evidence, he will order a criminal civil rights investigation into Johnson's death, reports the Associated Press.

A doctor who examined the exhumed body over the summer concluded that the teenager was killed with blunt force trauma instead of accidental asphyxiation, as the earlier investigation concluded. 

All surveillance video taken in the gym at the time of the teenager's death has been ordered released by a South Georgia judge, although the footage so far doesn't seem to show his death. He appears in the earlier footage below, however.