Kendrick Johnson


(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Gabriella Ruiz, Writer

CW: Violence

On January 11, 2013, the body of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson was found at Lowndes County High School in a horrifying state. Upside down in a rolled-up gym mat, the scene was unbelievable. 

It all started when Kendrick was supposed to be watching a sports event at school and go home straight after, but at 10 pm his mother, Jacky, realized he had not made it home from school that day. She eventually decided to go and drive around the school for a bit in hopes that she would find him walking around or hanging out with friends nearby. By the time midnight came and she had been looking for a while she found no trace of him and had no idea where he could be, so like any worried parent would do she decided to call the police to report a missing person. 

The next day she started putting up flyers and got in contact with the school to help out. However, then around 10:30 am a group of students were in the gym and they noticed some socks sticking out of one of the rolled-up wrestling mats. They thought at first it was a joke, but once they got closer they realized that there really was a body. The boys decided to move the mat down. They noticed a strong scent of vomit, blood, and a decomposing body. The school ended up going on lockdown and the police were called right away. 

This was the body of Kendrick Johnson. Jacky was at the school already when this was going down and found out from the staff how her son was found. The police initially ruled it an accidental death by suffocation for being upside down too long. Johnson’s parents felt that his death wasn’t being taken seriously because of his race, or because they felt like something was being covered up. Kendrick’s family was actually so frustrated with his death being ruled as only suffocation that his parents decided to get a private investigator. 

Reverend eventually had people debating if this death could possibly be a Homicide. Many people believe that Kendricks death had a racist motive behind it, and that one suspect they have in mind is a boy named Brandon Bell, who had previous accusations way before the incident of bullying and pushing Kendrick around. His brother Bryan was actually one of Kendrick’s classmates, and both brothers’ dad is Rick Bell who is an F.B.I agent which has definitely made people question this conspiracy more. 

Another thing that made this whole case suspicious was that the security footage was tampered with. There are 4 cameras located in the gym where Kendrick passed away. The first camera was recording from the start of the day until 12:04 pm then picked up again at 1:09 pm. The second camera starts at 11:05 am and doesn’t start back up again until 1:15 pm. The third camera also starts at 11:05 am and doesn’t start back up again until 1:16 pm. The last camera starts at 12:04 pm and doesn’t start back up until 1:09 pm. None of the footage of Kendrick getting stuck in the mat was caught on camera. In 2015 Reverend Rose, the Johnson family’s private investigator announced that he no longer believed Kendrick was murdered, which made many opinions change, but to this day his parents still believe there was foul play.