Everything about Kendrick Johnson's death is tragic and terrible. The 17-year old high school basketball player was discovered dead, his body wrapped in a rolled up wrestling mat in the back of his school's gym. He was found only after his frantic parents raised the alarm when Kendrick never returned home from school.
Local investigators ruled Kendrick's death to be a horrific accident. Initial coroner's reports seemed to back this up, claiming that examinations revealed Kendrick had died of asphyxiation. Kendrick's family did not believe this to be the case. It was their opinion that the boy had been murdered. They requested his body be exhumed and a second autopsy take place, and their worst suspicions may have been proven correct.
Upon exhuming the body, the second autopsy of Kendrick's remains revealed truly awful results. Not only were Kendrick's organs missing, but his body had been stuffed with newspaper. Kendrick's devastated mother described feeling as though her son had been treated like "a garbage can." The medical examiner's office claims it turned the organs over to the funeral parlor. That funeral parlor? It's not issuing any formal statements at this time.
As if these new details weren't grim enough for Kendrick's family to have to cope with, there's more. The results of the second autopsy indicated that Kendrick did not die of asphyxiation. In fact, this autopsy reports that he died of blunt force trauma that was no accident.
These results change everything about Kendrick's death. Benjamin Crump, known as the lawyer who brought national attention to the death of Trayvon Martin, is making it his mission to see that a criminal investigation into the death of Kendrick Johnson is opened. If local government doesn't comply with this request, they can expect a lot of backlash -- which is totally merited.
Everything about this case already speaks to shoddy investigating. At the very least, it's negligent laziness. The worst case? It's something much more malicious. I hope nothing so much as I hope that Crump is able to bring Kendrick and his family the justice they deserve.
Do you think a criminal case should be opened?
Image via CNN.com