MACON, Ga. - A federal prosecutor is now saying that he will investigate the controversial death of Valdosta teen, Kendrick Johnson, who was found inside a gym mat 10 months ago.
Originally investigators didn't suspect foul play in the case, but the 17-year-old's family believes there's been a cover up and federal authorities are re-opening the case.
"Many people have already called to express their concerns, fears and opinions about Mr. Johnson's death and subsequent investigation," said U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, Michael Moore. "Now, let me say that I appreciate the depth of those concerns, but at this time what we need are people with facts and knowledge of circumstances surrounding Mr. Johnsons death to present those to us. Facts, not feelings or opinions, no matter how sincere they may be, are the basis of legal investigation.
It's those facts that Jacksonville Attorney Gene Nichols said many people still question. For example, investigators said that Johnson suffocated while trying to retrieve a shoe dropped in the mat, but those shoes were never collected as evidence.
"Factually speaking, something very strange happened in this case and with the evidence that we've seen and the video that have been released and the blood spatter and what happened with the shoes," said Nichols. "I am not saying there has been some tremendous cover act. I think it's a good idea that somebody with a fresh set of eyes get involved with this case because the facts are so strange."
Nichols believes that the new federal investigation could bring about reevaluations to the case, and answer many outstanding questions.
"They have resources that the county and the state do not have. That being said, they are limited in what they can accomplish," said Nichols. "What I expect to find here is, if the federal government determines there was a crime that was committed, you will see the state government get back involved in order to prosecute this case."
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