The Norman Transcript

Local news

November 1, 2013

Feds to investigate teen’s freak death

VALDOSTA, Ga. — U.S. Attorney Michael Moore announced Thursday he will investigate the disputed death of Kendrick Johnson, the 17-year-old student found dead in a rolled up wrestling mat at Lowndes County High School 10 months ago.

Moore said he’s already reviewed the local sheriff’s investigation of the death as well as documents provided by the teen’s family and has determined “sufficient basis exists” for a formal federal inquiry.

“I do this with an open mind, neither accepting nor rejecting the opinions of anyone who has previously investigated the circumstances of Mr. Johnson’s death,” Moore said in a statement.

“My objective,” the statement added, “is to discover the truth, and I believe that can only be done by gathering all of the relevant information surrounding Mr. Johnson’s death.”

Johnson’s body was found by students Jan. 11 in the high school gym, wedged upside down between the folds of an upright wrestling mat. Blood was found on the floor of the gym below his head.

An autopsy conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation concluded that the youth died of “positional asphyxia” when he became trapped upside down in the mat and could not get out. The county sheriff’s office ruled the death accidental and closed the case.

The teen’s parents, however, said they suspect he was murdered and the victim of a coverup by law enforcement authorities.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • Injury accident reported

    Transcript Staff Emergency crews responded to an injury accident around 10:20 p.m. Sunday in the 1000 block of 80th Avenue Southeast where there were reports of someone pinned. Several reports indicated a vehicle struck a tree causing one ...

    July 28, 2014

  • Braddy_1. Norman North teen struck by freight train recovering with therapy

    A Norman North teen struck by a freight train in May is on the road to recovery and ready to get back to school after spending most of his summer in a hospital. Harrison Braddy, 16, has been staying busy with rehab and physical therapy ...

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Migrant kids go to Mass

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship....

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisons expand reach to bring training to more officers

    McALESTER — Joshua Drake once was offered the chance to be a corrections officer but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his wife and aging parents for six weeks to train hundreds of miles away in El Reno....

    July 27, 2014

  • Storm victims face loan dilemma

    The tornadoes, flooding and hail that struck Oklahoma last year left hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage, causing many home and business owners to seek help in the form of low-interest federal loans....

    July 27, 2014

  • SWIMMER Aquatic center could serve many community needs

    Michael Yoch could have been the kid with asthma sitting on the sidelines — could have been, but wasn’t. Michael had trouble running because of his asthma, which made it difficult to play soccer and many other sports his friends loved. ...

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Director leaves decade of memories

    Maureen Dolan is giving up the post as director of St. Joseph’s Early Childhood Development Center, fondly called “St. Joe’s” by the many parents whose pre-school children have spent their weekdays under her care over the past 10 years....

    July 27, 2014

  • Teen critical after rescue

    A 17-year-old Yukon male was transported to the hospital Sunday after a near drowning incident at Lake Thunderbird in the Party Cove area. Emergency crews responded to the lake after a report of a possible drowning around 5:30 p.m. ...

    July 27, 2014

  • County wreck fatal

    A Purcell man was killed in a single-vehicle wreck Saturday morning on Highway 77, north of Moffatt Road in Cleveland County. Keith Hedrick, 20, was pinned for about an hour and 45 minutes before the Slaughterville Fire Department was ...

    July 27, 2014

  • New library leaders

    The Pioneer Library System has familiar faces taking over leadership roles with its two hometown libraries....

    July 27, 2014