Family of Georgia teen found dead in high school gym exhumes body for second autopsy
By Your Black World
The family of a deceased Lowndes High School student had his body exhumed on Friday morning in preparation for a second autopsy.
“The City of Valdosta received a court order from a superior court judge here in Lowndes, which authorized the Johnson family to exhume the body,” confirmed Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress on Friday morning.
Police officers were on the scene of the exhumation at Sunset Hills Cemetery to preserve the chain of custody.
“Anytime a body is moved, the tomb has to be removed and it isn’t allowed to be opened at the site,” said Childress. “We complied with the court order and (the Johnsons) have 30 days to return the body to the cemetery to be re-buried. Everything went smoothly.”
Kendrick Johnson, 17, was found dead in the school gym back in January.
Investigators determined that Johnson died from positional asphyxia as he tried to retrieve shoes from a stack of wrestling mats that had been rolled and stood upright.
Johnson’s family doesn’t believe that explanation and believes that there was foul play involved in the teen’s death.
Childress said it is his understanding that the body will be shipped to a medical examiner’s office where another autopsy will be performed. He also expressed gratitude for how the exhumation was handled.
“I’m really proud of how the cemetery staff handled the exhumation,” said Childress. “This is the first time I’ve seen this in my law-enforcement career. The crew showed a lot of com-passion and they handled it in a dignified manner.”