VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - The body of a Kendrick "K. J." Johnson, whose body was found in the old Lowndes High Gym in 2013, has officially been exhumed for a third autopsy.
It was an extremely long process that seemed to take a toll on all parties involved-- from the family, to the funeral home workers, to the caretakers at the cemetery, especially with the stormy weather that rolled into Lowndes County Friday.
This is the second time Kendrick Johnson's remains have been exhumed.
The process started this morning roughly around 10:00 AM at Sunset Cemetery in Valdosta, when workers began to remove the headstone first, and then began the digging process with shovels and a backhoe.
Kendrick's father, Kenneth Johnson, says they are not disclosing where his body will be taken, or who will be performing the autopsy. We do know that the family is responsible for all costs associated with exhuming the body, from the actual digging, transporting, autopsy, and reburial of his body.
Johnson's death made headlines five years ago when he was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat at Lowndes County High.
Dueling lawsuits and charges of a cover-up ensued, in a case that has the public divided, to this day. In September of 2013, he Georgia State Conference NAACP, along with other community leaders joined the family of Kendrick Johnson on September 14, as they rallied to demand a thorough investigation into the death of Johnson.
Supporters say they believe the crime scene where the body was found had been compromised.
In 2015, the case went federal, when 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."
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