Valdosta Daily Times

Kendrick Johnson

October 31, 2013

Sheriff Prine answers questions about KJ investigation

VALDOSTA — The Times conducted an email interview this week with Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine regarding the Kendrick Johnson case.

While the sheriff openly discussed this case with The Times in May following the release of the state’s autopsy that showed the Lowndes County student’s death to be accidental, Prine agreed to the following Q&A session.

THE TIMES: Have you considered requesting the Department of Justice to come in to have a look at the Kendrick Johnson case? Why or why not?

PRINE: “No. A complete copy of the investigative case file was forwarded to United States Attorney Michael Moore immediately after the case was closed. That investigative file is a complete accounting of the work effort that was conducted during this investigation. I would welcome an independent review of this case by the Department of Justice.”

THE TIMES: What was your thinking behind ruling the death as accidental the day the body was found? If not, what was your reason?

PRINE: “On Jan. 11, 2013, it was explained to the Johnson family that based on the investigative findings known at that point, his death ‘appeared to be accidental’ but the investigation would continue and investigators would know more after the completion of an autopsy. I felt it was important for the Johnson family and the public to be assured that although a tragedy had occurred, nothing so far had been found to indicate that any other student was in danger. This in no way was an indication the case was being closed or that an investigation would not be conducted.

“Investigators immediately began conducting interviews and examining physical evidence in an attempt to learn what exactly had taken place. This investigation continued until May when the case was closed. Much of what was learned was not released to the public, as with any other investigation, in order to protect the integrity of the investigation and be able to provide a complete and thorough accounting of what took place.”

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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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