No Criminal Charges Will Be Filed in Death of Student Found Inside Rolled-Up Gym Mat
The U.S. Justice Department said Monday that no charges will be filed in the bizarre death of a teen found dead in a rolled-up gym mat.
The body of Kendrick Johnson was discovered inside the mat in January 2013 in his school gymnasium in Valdosta, Georgia.
The Justice Department's decision comes after Kendrick's family spent years attempting to expose what they believe to be the murder of their son.
A medical examiner determined in 2013 that Johnson died of "positional asphyxia."
Local authorities believe Kendrick died while trying to reach into the mat to retrieve a pair of sneakers.
Monday's decision affirmed that finding.
"After extensive investigation into this tragic event, federal investigators determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone or some group of people willfully violated Kendrick Johnson’s civil rights or committed any other prosecutable federal crime," a Justice Department statement said. "Accordingly, the investigation into this incident has been closed without the filing of federal criminal charges."
Convinced that he was murdered, Kendrick's parents once filed a civil suit that accused two of the teen's classmates of killing him.
An investigation into those students found both had solid alibis and one was even seen in school surveillance footage on the other side of the campus at the time of Kendrick's death.
The family dropped the $100 million wrongful death lawsuit, in which the boys were named as defendants, against the Lowndes County Board of Education in February, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.