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Vigil held for Lowndes County teen found in gym mat

Posted at 4:58 AM, Jan 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-11 00:03:40-05

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) - Kendrick Johnson's mom, Jackie, led a candlelight prayer vigil

commememorating the loss of her 17-year-old son.

His grandmother, Barbara English says the family is trying to move forward after five years of not knowing what happened to her grandson.

At first the Georgia Bureau of Investigation autopsy ruled Johnson's cause of death as "accidental, positional asphyxia," or strangling. But Johnson's parents didn't believe it.

They paid for their own autopsy, which said their son had died from blunt force trauma.

Authorities say Johnson's body showed no injuries when it was discovered rolled up in a wrestling mat in the gym.

Investigators believe he went to a rolled up mat to retrieve a shoe, but could not get out.

But the Johnson's questioned that theory.

"It was very upsetting to find out my cousin was murdered at school, because school is suppose to be a safe place for kids," a person said.

For 14-year-old Chante Williams, she struggles with grasping the idea that her cousin died at Lowndes High, but recalls fond memories with her cousin at last night's vigil.

"It means a lot to me because it seems like he is still with us and it just makes me happy to remember my cousin by what he was before he was killed at Lowndes High."

Now so many questions and not enough answers remain.

Johnson's 19-year-old cousin, Juwan Harris, along with many family members want answers to Johnson's death. wers.

Harris wants to keep fighting for Johnson.

The Johnson family is also hosting a peace walk and rally this Saturday at 10 a.m. at Lowndes High School.

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