Family of dead Valdosta teen: Surveillance video appears edited - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Family of dead Valdosta teen: Surveillance video appears edited


The family of a Valdosta teenager whose body was found inside a rolled-up wrestling mat says newly released surveillance video appears to have been edited.

The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office released the video Wednesday after legal action from the parents of Kendrick Johnson, 17.

Johnson was found dead in January inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in the gymnasium of Lowndes High School.

Authorities ruled the death an accident, saying that the autopsy showed Johnson suffocated while trying to retrieve a shoe. A second autopsy, prompted by the Johnson family, found that the teenager died from a blow to the neck.

The newly released surveillance video shows Johnson walking into the gym. In one clip, he walks into frame. The video appears to skip a second or two of action, showing Johnson running out of frame as other students suddenly appear.

One clip shows Johnson in the gym. A second shows him walking in, then running out of the frame. In both videos, students suddenly appear.

A third clip, the only one that shows the rolled-up mats in the background, is blurry.

"Just the fact that this one videotape is blurry, attorney King and I are very troubled by that," said Benjamin Crump, an attorney for the Johnson family. "This videotape seems to tell us that the truth has not come out yet, almost as if something was done with this one video to help conceal the truth."

An attorney for Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine said the video was not altered or edited by anyone within the sheriff's office. An attorney for the school said that what was provided to the sheriff's office was the raw feed with no edits.

The U.S. Attorney's Office announced last week that it is re-investigating the case.

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