VALDOSTA, Ga. - There is renewed interest in the case of a Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat at a high school thanks to a new social media campaign that has drawn support among celebrities.
More than 1.2 million people have signed a Change.org petition asking for justice in the Kendrick Johnson case. The campaign, which is using the hashtag “J4Kendrick”, has gained the attention of several celebrities and social media influencers including Kim Kardashian West, who tweeted about it and posted the petition to her Facebook page over the weekend.
She was retweeted more than 8,700 times and her Facebook post was shared more than 1,700 times.
Classmates discovered Johnson’s body rolled up in a gym mat propped upright against a wall next to the Lowndes County High School gymnasium bleachers in January 2013.
School surveillance video shows Kendrick Johnson enter the gym on January 10, 2013, but doesn't show what happens. (Lowndes County High School)
Though the school has dozens of surveillance cameras monitoring its doors and hallways, including four cameras in the gym where Johnson was found dead, none of them recorded the events leading to his death. Investigators suspect the gym mats were too far away to trigger any of the motion-activated cameras, which filmed Johnson strolling into the gym but nothing else.
Lowndes County High School (FOX 5)
An autopsy ruled the death an accident, but his parents believe their son was killed during an altercation and the case was mismanaged from the start.
Kendrick Johnson with his mother and father, Kenneth and Jackie Johnson (The Johnson Family)
The petition puts forth a scenario that the family believes led to his death.