Valdosta Daily Times

Kendrick Johnson

March 27, 2014

Anonymous email in KJ case based on rumor, says author

VALDOSTA — 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.

The girl, interviewed by The Times at her home, said she heard the rumor from a close friend and that hearsay was and still is rampant at Lowndes High School where Johnson’s lifeless body was found Jan. 11, 2013.

“I heard it so many times from so many different people that it just sounded like it could be true,” said the girl. “But nothing in the email is true.”

The girl said the rumor weighed heavily on her conscience, causing her to send the anonymous email to the sheriff’s office two months ago. Investigators subsequently concluded that there was nothing to the confession claim.

Authorities later identified the girl through a subpoena to her Internet provider service, Mediacom. The Times has agreed to withhold her name for now because of her age.

The girl said she thought her email would be helpful in solving the uncertainty surrounding Johnson’s strange death in the high school’s old gym. She said she thought it might be true given the speculation in the media, especially Ebony.com and CNN, over the circumstances of the Johnson case.

“Now,” she added, “I know it was just hurting people that were completely innocent. There’s no way they could have anything to do with it. There’s nothing there that proves that they have anything to do with it.”

Johnson’s lifeless body was found in a rolled-up athletic mat. Local and state authorities ruled his death an accident. The 17-year-old’s parents maintain he was the victim of foul play, possibly murder. Federal authorities are reviewing the case.

The girl said she does not personally know the individuals she mentioned in her anonymous email, but that rumors persist about them at the high school, dividing the student body down the middle over those who believe Johnson died accidentally and those who do not.

She said she agreed to talk to The Times to set the record straight and to deflect speculation about her involvement in the Johnson case.

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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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