Valdosta Daily Times

Kendrick Johnson

February 6, 2014

Johnsons file civil suit against funeral home

VALDOSTA — 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.

Kendrick’s lifeless body was found upside down inside a rolled-up athletic mat at Lowndes High School  Jan. 11, 2013. The Harrington Funeral Home received the body several days later after a Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy determined the 17-year-old died as a result of a freak accident.

In the suit, filed in the State Court of Lowndes County, Kenneth and Jacqueline Johnson said funeral director Antonio Harrington intentionally interfered with an investigation into their son's death. The Johnsons maintain Kendrick was the victim of wrongdoing and that local law-enforcement officials and others covered up the cause of his death.

The suit states that Harrington expressed doubts about Kendrick’s death being accidental after receiving the body. It also claims that the funeral director disposed of Kendrick’s internal organs, brain and clothes in an attempt to “interfere” with the investigation by the sheriff's office and the GBI.

The suit said Harrington did not inform the Johnsons of the “true condition” of Kendrick’s body before burial, causing the family emotional distress when a second autopsy, commissioned by the parents, revealed their son's internal organs had been replaced with old newspapers.

The Johnsons seek unspecified financial damages.

The Georgia Board of Funeral Service cleared Harrington in January of any wrongdoing in handling Kendrick’s body.

The Times was unable to reach Harrington for comment Wednesday, but he has

previously stated newspapers are commonly used by embalmers to replace internal organs removed by an autopsy if the body is prepared for showing before burial. He has stated he gave “199 percent” to help provide closure to the Johnson family and “never did anything wrong.”


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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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