What happened to Kendrick Johnson? - FOX 32 News Chicago

What happened to Kendrick Johnson?

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VALDOSTA, Ga. -

A small town in south Georgia remains on edge 10 months after a student was found dead inside of a rolled-up gym mat at a high school.

The death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson, whose body was found at Lowndes County High School in January, was initially ruled an accident. Johnson's family refuses to believe it.

Many people in Valdosta, Ga., told FOX 5 that they had strong feelings on the case, but were nervous to speak publicly.

The Johnson family is determined not to rest under they get answers. They spend nearly 40 hours a week on a street corner outside of a courthouse demanding justice.

The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office ruled the teen's death an accident; they say Kendrick Johnson fell into the mat in search of a shoe.

The family believes foul play was involved.

Gym surveillance video was finally released to the media in October. But out of 38 cameras, only one of them was blurry -- the camera that pointed in the direction of where Kendrick's body was found.

"That goes to show you if it's an accident, what are they hiding? It shouldn't be this way if this is an accident," said Kendrick's father, Kenneth Johnson.

With the official cause of death an accident, there have been no suspects. The Internet, however, is filled with accusations. Many rumors have the finger pointed at the sheriff's grandson or son. As it turns out, the sheriff has neither.

Amidst the unease, the rumors and the disputed evidence, generations of the Johnson family remain united.

"Our lives have just been just turned around, but we are here to stay until we get justice," Kenneth Johnson said.

A spokesperson for the Sheriff's office told FOX 5 that they welcome the U.S. attorneys' review of the initial investigation. Johnson family lawyers are appealing a judge's decision to hold off on a coroner's inquest until after that review is complete.  They have asked that the schools hard drives from the surveillance cameras to be released to them.

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