Feds raid home of brothers in Kendrick Johnson investigation
LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) - Federal investigators announced property seizures in the mysterious death of a teen.
Kendrick Johnson, 17, was found dead by students at Lowndes County High School on January 11, 2013. His body was inside a rolled up gym mat.
Federal investigators seized cell phones, computers, and other electronics from the family of two brothers who were classmates of Johnson.
The attorney for the family of the brothers said federal marshals served search warrants around 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday at the family's home.
The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, along with state investigators, ruled the death was an accident, saying Johnson reached in to get a shoe and got stuck.
But Johnson's parents believe he was murdered, and have since raised questions about the two brothers.
An independent pathologist hired by the family concluded that the teen died from "unexplained, apparent non-accidental blunt force trauma."
The federal investigation
In October 2013, U.S. Attorney Michael Moore launched a federal investigation into Johnson's death.
Since then, his family has remained committed to pursuing the answer to what actually happened.
They, along with community leaders and activists have held rallies to support and draw attention to the death investigation.
The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against 38 of Kendrick Johnson's classmates on January 15, 2015. The suit accuses three classmates of attacking and killing Johnson.
Other lawsuits filed
They also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Lowndes County Board of Education and its members on July 28, 2013.
The lawsuit claims in-part that the members of the board of education did not properly investigate a 2009 incident involving an altercation on a school bus between Johnson and another student while on a school trip to North Georgia.
Documents show the suit also requested a jury trial on "all issues so triable", in connection with what it claims was the improper investigation of the 2009 incident on the school bus, and requests that "all other relief which [the Lowndes County Superior Court] deems to be appropriate" be awarded to the Johnson family.
In November 2014, the attorney for the Lowndes County School district said the high school strongly denies another claim related to Johnson's death.
Family members claimed that a student on the wrestling team had motive to harm Johnson and, according to a wrestling team travel itinerary the family presented at a press conference, was at school when Johnson disappeared from school surveillance video around 1 p.m. the day before his body was found.
But the school district's attorney said the team did not leave at 4 p.m. that day for a tournament in Macon as the form claims, but actually left prior to Johnson going missing. The attorney said the form was submitted in October 2012 by the wrestling coach and the time was changed shortly before January 10th after an official departure time had been coordinated with the bus driver that would be taking the team to Macon.
The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office later conducted interviews with some members of the wrestling team.
After the interviews, investigators cleared one wrestler of any wrongdoing in the case.
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