Valdosta Daily Times

Kendrick Johnson

November 22, 2013

Finding Kendrick


VALDOSTA — The Discovery

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.     

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Kendrick Johnson
  • KJ’s parents claim racial bullying in lawsuit

    The parents of Kendrick Johnson have sued the Lowndes County School System, claiming officials neglected to protect their son from racial harassment and bullying that they said led to his death.

    May 15, 2014

  • 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

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