Valdosta Daily Times

Kendrick Johnson

September 5, 2013

Johnson autopsies compared

Times obtains copy of second autopsy report

VALDOSTA —  A second autopsy report for a 17-year-old student found dead earlier this year in Lowndes High School notes his cause of death as “blunt force trauma, right neck, involving right mandible, and soft tissues, including the area of the carotid body, consistent with inflicted injury.”

The Times obtained a copy of the four-page second autopsy report on Kendrick Johnson Wednesday.

Conducted by Dr. William R. Anderson, an Ocala, Fla., pathologist, the autopsy was reportedly paid for by the Johnson family and their supporters, who have disagreed with a Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy that found the teen’s death to be accidental, caused by positional asphyxia, with no signs of blunt-force trauma. The family believes foul play was involved in Johnson’s death.

The second autopsy report notes that it was performed at the request of Jacquelyn and Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick Johnson’s parents.

As a note under the cause of death listed on the second autopsy report for Forensic Dimensions, a medical diagnostic services organization in Orlando, Fla., Anderson writes, “Unexplained, apparent non-accidental, blunt force trauma: further investigation is indicated to determine the etiology of the injuries.” Etiology is essentially the study of causes, as in what caused the injuries.

Anderson’s autopsy describes the injuries, as follows:

“Examination of the head and neck shows an area of contusion injury involving the right mandibular area, with moderate discoloration of the skin. Examination of the previously undissected area and sectioning of the skin reveals evidence of full-thickness cutaneous hemorrhage, extending into the subcutaneous fat.

“Further dissection into the deep soft tissue reveals hemorrhage into the musculature with extension to the peri-osteal region of the inferior aspect of the posterior body of the right mandible. Focally, an area of intra-osseus hemorrhage is identified in an area of moderately prominent peri-osteal and soft tissue hemorrhage.

“Examination of the right upper neck reveals hemorrhage in the deep soft tissue and musculature adjacent to the bifurcation of the right common carotid artery and carotid body.

“Examination of the soft tissues of the left neck area reveals no grossly evident areas of hemorrhage.”

These second autopsy findings contradict the state’s autopsy results released earlier this year.

The GBI autopsy notes, under the heading Neck: “A layered dissection of the anterior neck is performed. Examination of the soft tissues of the neck including the strap muscles and large vessels reveals no abnormalities. The hyoid bone and laryngeal cartilages are intact. The larynx is clear. The lingual mucosa is intact; the underlying musculature is devoid of hemorrhage.”

In terms of any blunt-force trauma, the first autopsy found superficial abrasions on a finger. “No other injuries are identified.”

 In January, Kendrick “KJ” Johnson, 17, was found dead in the old Lowndes High gymnasium on the school campus. Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office proclaimed no foul play in the case on the same day as the teen’s body was discovered.

The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and Georgia Bureau of Investigation concluded that Johnson was alone in the gym, reached for a loose shoe and became trapped in a rolled-up wrestling-type mat, and died from being upside down for an extended period of time.

The state’s autopsy confirmed these findings and concluded the death was accidental.

The Johnson family and many supporters never agreed with the findings and continued rallying outside of the Lowndes County Judicial Complex in the months since the autopsy was returned. They believe, based on the condition of Johnson’s body, especially the bloated nature of his head and face following the initial autopsy, that he was murdered.

In June, the family won a court order for Johnson’s body to be exhumed from Sunset Hill Cemetery for the second autopsy. Family and supporters have also requested the federal Justice Department investigate the case.  

The U.S. Attorney Middle District of Georgia Michael J. Moore is reviewing the case but has not initiated a formal investigation into Kendrick Johnson’s death.

 

See both the state and the second autopsyreports on valdostadailytimes.com

Original Autopsy Report: http://valdosta.sgaonline.com/2010vdt/pdfs/kendrick-johnson.pdf

Second Autopsy Report: http://valdosta.sgaonline.com/2010vdt/pdfs/KJohnson_second_autopsy.pdf

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Kendrick Johnson
  • Anonymous email in KJ case based on rumor, says author

    The teenage girl who authored an anonymous email claiming someone had confessed to murdering Kendrick Johnson says it was strictly a rumor that she felt conscience-bound to share with the sheriff’s office.

    March 27, 2014

  • keyboard.jpg Authorities: Confession in KJ case not credible

    An anonymous email claiming a former classmate of Kendrick Johnson had confessed to killing him was investigated and determined not to be credible, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • social.jpg Mom says sons harassed, threatened in KJ case

    Karen Bell has had it with the rumor-mongering about her family’s connection to the death of Kendrick Johnson on social networking sites like YouTube,  Twitter and Facebook.

    February 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnsons file civil suit against funeral home

    Kendrick Johnson’s parents have filed a civil lawsuit against the Harrington Funeral Home, claiming it negligently handled their son’s remains and deliberately withheld information about the condition of his body.

    February 6, 2014

  • 140121-Floyd_Rose001.jpg No response to KJ reward

    A local civil rights leader returned reward money to its donor Tuesday after it failed to yield any significant information pertaining to the death of Kendrick Johnson.

    January 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • State capitol rally today for new KJ probe

    A three-hour rally for a new investigation into the disputed death of Lowndes High student Kendrick Johnson 11 months ago is planned today on the front steps of the Georgia Capitol building.

    December 11, 2013

  • Kendrick_Johnson.jpg Where was Kendrick?

    About this series
    This is the third of four stories by the Valdosta Daily Times reviewing the official police file on the investigation into the death of Kendrick Johnson. Today’s report is about the confusion surrounding Kendrick’s whereabouts the day before his body was found, explains police handling of a report that a person was attacked and falsely accused of killing Kendrick, and tells about the dissatisfaction of Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson with how authorities handled the immediate investigation.

    November 23, 2013 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • kendrick-johnson.jpg Finding Kendrick

    The Times continues its in-depth look at the investigative case file into the January death of Kendrick Johnson at Lowndes High School.

    November 22, 2013 1 Photo

  • kendrick-johnson.jpg Kendrick’s Final Walk

    A review of Lowndes High School video footage shows more than the moments Kendrick Johnson entered the old gymnasium where his body was discovered Jan. 11 in a rolled wrestling mat.

    November 21, 2013 1 Photo

  • 131107-Johnsons call#107597.JPG Johnson family appealing judge's decision

    “I think the tapes show that there is some conspiracy to conceal the truth from this family and to the public as to who killed Kendrick Johnson,” said Benjamin Crump, lawyer for the Johnson family.

    November 8, 2013 2 Photos

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