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Kendrick Johnson's family hold memorial Saturday

10:41 PM, Jan 11, 2014   |    comments
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) -- The family of a south Georgia teenager found dead inside a gym mat at his school a year ago is marking the anniversary with a memorial service.

Relatives, friends and supporters gathered at noon Saturday to remember 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson of Valdosta. His body was found Jan. 11, 2013, in the center of a rolled-up gym mat at Lowndes County High School.

Kendrick's father Kenneth Johnson took the opportunity to call out crime scene investigators, claiming they botching the investigation into his son's death.

"You want to side with the sheriff's department and don't want to tell the truth because they told you not to," Johnson said. "...It is lie after lies that we have been told, but we don't stand for it -- no matter what."

"We need to stick together to (make sure) it doesn't happen to another kid on that campus," he added.

The Lowndes County, Ga. Sheriff's Office closed its investigation into the death last May, concluding Johnson died in a freak accident. They say he fell into the mat while reaching for a gym shoe and was unable to escape. 

The teenager's parents insist someone killed their son. The U.S. attorney for middle Georgia is reviewing the case.

The Saturday service was to be held at John W. Saunders Memorial Park in Valdosta.

Find out more about this case: 

Kendrick Johnson's family still looking for answers

US Attorney opens investigation of Ga. teen's death

Associated Press

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