Among other items, federal investigators will compare the official state autopsy with a second one performed five months after Johnson’s death by a private pathologist hired by the youth’s family.
Johnson’s body was exhumed June 14 and Dr. William R. Anderson, a forensic pathologist with Forensic Dimensions in Heathrow, Fla., conducted his autopsy the next day. His findings contradicted the state autopsy conducted four days after Johnson’s death.
Anderson’s report, dated Sept. 15, stated the body showed evidence of blunt force trauma to the right side of the neck, “findings not consistent with positional asphyxia.” Anderson said Johnson appeared to be a victim of homicide and not an accidental death.
Anderson’s analysis of Johnson’s organs was conducted using microscopic slides of tissue sample created during the state autopsy.
In contradiction, a CNN report has claimed that, during the second autopsy, it was discovered Kendrick’s organs were not present and that his body had been stuffed with newspapers.
The Harrington Funeral Home disputed the CNN report, and Harrington’s attorney, Roy Copeland, released a letter to The Times stating the funeral home had no involvement in “the disposition of this young man’s internal organs.”
Sherry Lang of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which conducted the original autopsy, said Kendrick’s organs were put in plastic bags and placed inside the body cavity following the autopsy by GBI pathologist Dr. Gaffney-Kraft.
Anderson’s report stated the organs removed at the initial autopsy were not present with the body, but he did not indicate he opened the body cavity for inspection nor did he provide details of how the body was embalmed.
Repeated requests to the family’s lawyers to allow The Times access to the photos reportedly showing “sales flyers and newspapers” in Kendrick’s body cavity, as reported by CNN, have gone unanswered. The lawyers have also not replied to the paper’s request to conduct an interview with pathologist Anderson.