Valdosta Daily Times

Kendrick Johnson

October 13, 2013

Family, friends gather Saturday in honor of Kendrick Johnson's 18th birthday

VALDOSTA — This week marked the first birthday that Kendrick Johnson’s family has spent without him. On Thursday, October 10, he would have turned 18 years old.

In honor of his memory and to allow his friends and family to continue to show their support and love for him, the Kendrick Johnson Planning Committee, along with many other family and friends held a birthday celebration Saturday at Saunders Park.

During the celebration, family members, friends and local supporters gathered together to honor the memory of Johnson.

Susie Kier, KJ’s aunt, said of the celebration, “This is the first birthday without him. We want justice.”

During the birthday event, there was food, games and activities for families, along with a basketball and volleyball tournament, live entertainment and music. At noon, a time of prayer and reflection was held. The family also released balloons in honor of KJ.

Members from local organizations came to show their support, including members of the Valdosta State University NAACP organization.

Tamelonie Thomas, member of the VSU NAACP, said, “We have been at all of the events. We are here to support the family and the cause.”

Stephanie Martin, a family member, said, “We want justice for KJ. Whatever is done in the dark will come to light and when God shows up, it’s over.”

Intense national media scrutiny has kept the

spotlight on the KJ case following the discovery of Johnson’s body at Lowndes High School in January. Questions surrounding the investigation continue to haunt the family, who is seeking answers in order to lay their son to rest.

“We wanted to celebrate not only his birthday, but his memory. We are here to celebrate Kendrick Johnson,” said Lydia Tooley Johnson, KJ’s aunt. “We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation for the support and prayers from those that are standing behind the family and also thank you to everyone for coming out today.”

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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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