THE TIMES: Did you ever have any reason to search for a suspect?
PRINE: “No. Had any information been learned, including the development of a suspect during this investigation, those leads would have been exhausted. Nothing was learned during the investigation.”
THE TIMES: Have you ever received any credible information that would point to Kendrick’s death as non-accidental?
PRINE: “No. All information learned and documented during this investigation supports the investigative findings that this death was an accident.”
THE TIMES: How many interviews were conducted during the investigation?
PRINE: “During the investigation, numerous interviews, including students, coaches, teachers, janitorial staff and parents were conducted. This included every student who was identified as having been in the gym between the time Kendrick Johnson disappeared through the time that he was discovered. This also included members of the basketball team and winter color guard both (of) whom practiced in the gym on Jan. 10.”
THE TIMES: Have investigators identified anyone they would like to interview but have not been able to locate?
PRINE: “No. We have followed every lead that was learned including many rumors that were checked into.”
THE TIMES: Who initiated (Wednesday’s) hearing ...?
PRINE: “The Johnson family filed a suit in June 2013 seeking a hearing concerning the application of open record laws. In August 2013, County Attorney Jim Elliott filed a motion seeking a hearing on the matter.”
THE TIMES: Kendrick’s family believe their son was murdered and that there has been a cover up to protect people involved. (It has been) stated that a cover up of that magnitude is implausible and that in a search for answers, an injustice has been perpetrated on those who have investigated the case and who work for the school system by suggesting that they are a part of a cover up. Do you agree?
PRINE: “Yes, I do. I have all the confidence in the world that this investigation was handled with necessary diligence to assure that all leads were examined and exhausted. This investigation included the interviewing of witnesses, the documentation, examination and forensic testing of physical evidence, including over 800 photographs of the scene that were taken, the completion of a new procedure that captured a 360 degree digital scan, that allows for the scene to be later digitally recreated, and completion of an autopsy by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. In order to provide additional assurances that all avenues were examined, investigative agents from the GBI were requested at the initial onset of this investigation. Any such cover up would require the collaboration of any number of Sheriff’s Office employees, agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, personnel from the Medical Examiner’s office and crime scene technicians from the Valdosta Lowndes Regional Crime Laboratory.”