When Kendrick Johnson’s family ordered a second autopsy for the Georgia teen found dead inside a rolled mat in his high school gym, they were shocked to learn that some of his organs had been replaced with newspaper. The family is now suing the funeral home that prepped Johnson’s body, alleging negligence and fraud, CNN reports.
CNN notes that in the lawsuit, filed Jan. 31 and amended Wednesday, the family alleges that Harrington Funeral Home in Valdosta, Ga., purposefully disposed of organs to thwart the investigation into Johnson’s cause of death.
“This lawsuit challenges the morally despicable, fraudulent, unlawful and unfair business practices” of Harrington Funeral Home, the court document states.
Antonio Harrington “intentionally, willfully and secretly” disposed Johnson’s remains, the lawsuit claims.
A state board investigation did not find any violations in how Johnson’s body was handled by the funeral home.
CNN reports that Roy Copeland, a lawyer for Harrington Funeral Home and its owner, Antonio Harrington, said his client had not been served as of Wednesday and could not comment on something he has not seen.
It was originally determined by the Lowndes County sheriff’s office that Johnson died after he fell inside one of the mats while trying to reach a sneaker, a position that the sheriff’s office still believes is true.
The doctor who performed the second autopsy determined that Johnson suffered blunt force trauma to the neck “consistent with inflicted injury,” challenging the authorities’ ruling that the death was accidental, CNN reports.
CNN notes that the lawsuit claims that the funeral home owner not only removed the organs but “actively undertook measures to dispose of said organs in an effort to interfere” with the investigation.