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Family of Georgia teen found dead on exercise mat to file documents in federal court

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Family of Georgia teen found dead on exercise mat to file documents in federal court

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) – It’s been more than 10 years since teenager Kendrick Johnson was found dead in a rolled-up wrestling mat in a south Georgia high school gym.

It was a story that made national headlines, and even today the mystery surrounding his death remains.

On Tuesday, Johnson’s parents filed a new lawsuit in federal court in Atlanta seeking a response to Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk’s investigation, which his office conducted last year. They filed a new lawsuit against the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

The Johnsons filed a $1 billion lawsuit.

Kendrick Johnson’s family has just arrived at federal court in Atlanta to file documents challenging claims that their son’s 2013 death was an accident. Johnson was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat at his high school. @ATLNewsFirst pic.twitter.com/VLIZxwiCPY

— Bridget Spencer (@NewswithBridget) September 19, 2023

Johnson was 17 years old in 2013 when his body was found curled up in a wrestling mat at Lowndes High School. The death was ruled an accident even after Paulk took another look at the case in 2022. But Johnson’s parents have never accepted these findings, saying the evidence does not support them.

Johnson’s parents say they are unconvinced because of the inconsistencies and the way their son’s body was handled. They say investigators need to look at evidence from a third autopsy.

“Read the third autopsy report. Don’t take my word for it. Read the third autopsy report. It doesn’t say what he said,” said Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick’s father.

RELATED: The Kendrick Johnson Case: A Timeline of Events

Paulk said: “Based on the documents I have read and the investigations I have seen, I am 100% confident there was no wrongdoing. In my opinion it is a terrible accident.”

A decade later, the Johnsons claim their son was killed, and they have vowed to take that fight all the way to the Supreme Court if they deem it necessary.

The defendants have 21 days to respond to the lawsuit.

READ THE FULL LAWSUIT FILED BY THE JOHNSON FAMILY: