Feds Seize Emails, Phones in Investigation of Ga. Teen Found Dead Inside Gym Mat

Kendrick Johnson

Federal marshals obtained emails from the Lowndes County, Ga., Sheriff’s Office this week as part of a probe that has been going on for more than two years since the sheriff’s office said there was no foul play in the death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson, CNN reports.

According to the news site, U.S. marshals entered the Lowndes County information technology offices on Tuesday and Wednesday with a warrant and proceeded to copy emails from the sheriff’s office related to the investigation.


The warrant was reportedly connected to the federal grand jury investigation into the 2013 death, in which the teen was found in a rolled-up gym mat. Lowndes County Attorney Jim Elliot said that he did not know which emails were copied. 

As CNN notes, county sheriff’s investigators had reached the conclusion that Kendrick got stuck in the rolled-up gym mat in his Valdosta, Ga., high school while reaching for a shoe and that the death was accidental. The state medical examiner seemingly agreed, calling the cause of death “positional asphyxia.”

A forensic pathologist, however, hired by the teen’s family ruled the death a homicide, saying that there was evidence of “unexplained, apparent nonaccidental blunt force trauma.”

The Justice Department started investigating Kendrick’s death in October 2013 but has been silent about what authorities have found.


Back in January, Kendrick’s parents filed a $100 million lawsuit claiming that former classmates beat the teen to death. The lawsuit, which also names local law enforcement and the city of Valdosta, points to two former classmates who are brothers and their father, a local FBI agent, for the wrongful death.

Marshals reportedly seized items including cellphones, computers and thumb drives from the brothers’ family home as well as a former classmate’s college dorm room.


Read more at CNN.

Share This Story