According to NBC News, Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk is now offering $500,000 of his own money as reward for any information someone can offer to lead to an arrest. Paulk had just recently closed the investigation into the death of Kendrick Johnson, a teenager who was found dead inside a gym mat. Paulk said the death was a “weird accident” and filed no charges for the other teenagers who were with him moments before the incident.
Johnson’s family continued to pressure the Sheriff’s office after the report was released, insisting Kendrick was murdered and that it was covered up by investigators.
“After the release of my synopsis of the Federal files on the Kendrick Johnson case, his parents have called me a liar and continue to state that Kendrick was murdered,” Paulk said in a news release Monday.
“Because of these statements, I am personally — with my own funds — offering a reward of one-half million dollars ($500,000.00) to anyone who comes forward with information that results in the arrest and conviction of a person for the alleged murder of Kendrick Johnson at Lowndes High School.”
In 2013, Kendrick Johnson was found dead, positioned vertically inside a wrestling mat in a Valdosta, Georgia high school. Paulk’s report included evidence and materials from the Justice Department, FBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and two autopsies, one requested by the Johnson family, reported NBC. Paulk has not received any useful new tips about the case since the announcement, via NBC.
Paulk told NBC he is open to any more information but seemed doubtful there was anything else the public could offer. “I don’t really feel like there’s anybody out there with knowledge and from what I’ve seen — I studied all the camera angles and everything else — it was a tragic accident. But if somebody comes in with a different view we’re going to listen to them certainly,” said Paulk.