Investigators spoke with several students and teachers who were in the old gym when Kendrick's body was discovered in the rolled wrestling mat. Two students were children of a Lowndes County School administrator. They were the first to see Kendrick’s body in the mat, according to their interviews in the case file.
After second block started on Jan. 11, students in Phillip Pieplow’s class were completing surveys. Pieplow stated that three of the students climbed on top of the mats in the corner of the gym. One student said she crawled from the bleachers onto the mats to lay down while she filled out the survey. After a few minutes, the student noticed “feet with socks on them” inside one of the mats.
She first thought it was a joke but then called for help. Another student, who was not on the bleachers or mats at the time, climbed on top of the bleachers and onto the mats. He stated that he “looked down into the mat” and saw what looked like a person. He called to Pieplow who climbed to the top of the mats and tried to free whoever was stuck but was unable. More than one student used a cell phone to call 911 and make a report.
Pieplow then hopped off the mats and, with the assistance of the student who called to him, began moving the other mats away to reach the mat containing the body. Once the mats were lowered and the body could be seen, students were asked to leave and go to the new gym.
Pieplow stated that he did not physically touch the body, but he could tell the person was dead because of the smell and the lack of any movement.
Within the case file, each student interview gives the exact same account of how Kendrick’s body was found.