‘This is a terrible hoax’: Lowndes Co. sheriff talks more about unauthenticated recorded confession in Kendrick Johnson case

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 6:14 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - New details emerged about the man who confessed to making and selling an unauthenticated recording to Kendrick Johnson’s family.

This is all according to Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

Johnson was found dead, rolled up in a gym mat back in 2013 at Lowndes High School. His death was ruled accidental. Since then, his family has maintained they believe he was killed.

Family spokesperson and Kj's mother visit Sheriff Ashley Paulk to discuss possible new evidence.
Family spokesperson and Kj's mother visit Sheriff Ashley Paulk to discuss possible new evidence.(WALB)

The man’s name and the audio clip cannot be released because of an ongoing investigation.

The 25-second recording sounds like someone confessing to killing Johnson.

Sheriff Ashley Paulk said he needs Jacquelyn Johnson, Kendrick’s mother, to help move the case forward.

“This is a terrible hoax. This woman lost a child. I can’t believe somebody would even do this for any amount of money,” said Paulk.

Jacquelyn Johnson and Family Spokesperson Marcus Coleman presented the recording to the sheriff’s office in March, along with a photo of the person they say sold it to them for $1,000.

“This person, in my opinion, is a pathological liar. He has been convicted of giving false statements before, so we’re not going to go on his statements completely or trust him completely,” said Paulk.

Deputies found the man a few weeks later in a Hahira motel.

Paulk said the sheriff’s office is familiar with him.

The sheriff also said he lied about being related to the defendant in a case involving the Johnsons.

His team has done all they can, Paulk pointed out, using professionals and technology to investigate in finding the person who recorded it.

Paulk said he’s contacted the Johnson family’s lawyer several times with no response.

A victim’s testimony against the person who made the false recording is necessary in the case, the sheriff said.

Coleman said after speaking with Kendrick’s father, they plan to use a third party in an attempt to authenticate the recording.

“We’re eight-plus years into this child’s death. This case has gone from Lowndes County, all the way to the desk of two U.S. attorney generals and now, back to Lowndes County. Disappointments have been whittled with this case, so we’re not foreign to that,” said Coleman.

Paulk said investigators are still reviewing boxes of evidence sent to them from the US Attorney’s Office in Ohio.

These documents are separate from the unauthenticated recording.

It’s unclear who’s representing the family legally.

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