Parents of teen with missing organs request coroner's inquest
VALDOSTA, GA (CBS46) -
Jacquelyn and Kenneth Johnson are torn about their son's death but determined to fight until they get answers.
"We knew it was going to be this hard because this is Lowndes County. Lowndes County is not used to families fighting against them. Whatever it takes, how long it takes, we are here," said Kenneth Johnson.
Today their attorneys filed a petition requesting a judge order a coroner's inquest into the death of their son, 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson.
"The sheriff has already closed his file, he's ended his investigation. This is one way in which that investigation can be reopened," said attorney C.B. King.
In January, Kendrick Johnson was found dead, rolled up inside a wrestling mat inside his high school gym.
An autopsy performed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations determined he accidentally suffocated while trying to retrieve a shoe.
The Johnsons had their son's body exhumed and hired a private medical examiner. Kendrick Johnson's internal organs were missing, his body was stuffed with newspaper and that doctor determined he died of blunt force trauma.
"If the sheriff's investigation is correct and he climbed into the wrestling mat, we will see it with our own eyes if school officials give us the surveillance video," said attorney Benjamin Crump.
In the petition, Kendrick Johnson's family wants the Lowndes County High School to release surveillance video from the gym that they believe will show what happened to him.
School officials cited student privacy as a reason for not releasing the video.
"We absolutely believe somebody has already viewed that videotape and for whatever reason they do not want these parents to view that videotape," said Crump.
The judge will have up to 30 days to rule on the Johnsons' petition.
Copyright 2013 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.