Kendrick Johnson's family searches for answers five years later

Kendrick Johnson's family searches for answers five years later
Jackie Johnson, Kendrick's mother, hosts prayer vigil encouraging people to raise five fingers to commemorate five years since Kendrick died (Source: WALB)
Jackie Johnson, Kendrick's mother, hosts prayer vigil encouraging people to raise five fingers to commemorate five years since Kendrick died (Source: WALB)
Barbara English, Kendrick Johnson's grandmother (Source: WALB)
Barbara English, Kendrick Johnson's grandmother (Source: WALB)
Chante Williams, Kendrick Johnson's cousin (Source: WALB)
Chante Williams, Kendrick Johnson's cousin (Source: WALB)

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - "He's gone, but he's gonna never be forgotten," said Barbara English, Kendrick Johnson's grandmother.

Kendrick Johnson's body was discovered almost five years ago in the Lowndes High School gym, rolled up in a wrestling mat.

"It's no justice, no peace for Kendrick Johnson getting justice," said Jackie Johnson, Kendrick's mother, as she opened the candlelight prayer vigil commemorating the loss of her 17-year-old son.

"It's been hard, really hard to deal with," said English.

English said the family is trying to move forward after 5 years of not knowing what happened to her grandson.

At first, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy ruled Johnson's cause of death as "accidental, positional asphyxia," or strangling. But Johnson's parents didn't believe it.

They paid for their own autopsy which said their son had died from blunt force trauma.

"We're fighting for justice. It's just one thing that we remember Kendrick and pushing forward for justice for Kendrick," said English.

Authorities said that Johnson's body showed no injuries when it was discovered rolled up in a wrestling mat in the gym.

Investigators believe he went to a rolled up mat to retrieve a shoe, but could not get out.

But the Johnson's questioned that theory.

"It was very upsetting to find out my cousin was murdered at school because school is supposed to be a safe place for kids," said Chante Williams, 14, Kendrick's cousin.

Williams struggles with grasping the idea that her cousin died at Lowndes High, but recalls fond memories with her cousin at Wednesday night's vigil.

"It means a lot to me because it seems like he is still with us and it just makes me happy to remember my cousin by what he was before he was killed at Lowndes High," explained Williams.

Now so many questions and not enough answers remain.

"The years go by it seems like that no justice has been done," said English.

Now, the Johnson family is also hosting a peace walk and rally this Saturday at 10 a.m. at Lowndes High School.

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