New Autopsy in Teen's Death Concludes Homicide, Family Wants Justice

Coroner claimed freak accident after Georgia teen was found dead inside rolled-up wrestling mat.
4:18 | 09/06/13

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Transcript for New Autopsy in Teen's Death Concludes Homicide, Family Wants Justice
to a georgia family's fight to reopen the investigation into the death of their teenage son. His body was found in january in a rolled-up gym mattal school. The authorities said it was a freak accident. And the family concluded it was a homicide. Matt gutman has their story. Reporter: Vindication. But still no justice. That's what kendrick johnson's family says they have this morning thanks to a new report, backing up their belief that their son was murdered. When I see my son's body and the condition he was in, I knew it wasn't an accident. Reporter: The 17-year-old was found dead inside a large, rolled up wrestling mat at his high school gym in january. A original coroner's report concluded it was a freak accident. That kendrick suffocated when getting stuck in the mat reaching to get his shoe. He didn't come home. And it was unusual for kendrick not to call. Not even to come home. The deputy that was on call, she came with me and grabbed me and my daughter and hugged us. I said, was it my child? She said, yes. Reporter: Unconvinced, his parents hired their own private medical examiner. And the new autopsy report finds that kendrick died from a blow to his neck. This was no accident. Kendrick's father demonstrated how unlikely the accident scenario seems to be. Trying to squeeze himself into a similar rolled-up mat. What my clients want are answers, that can only be acquired through an objective, independent and thorough investigation. Reporter: For now, the sheriff and state investigators say they stand by their findings and will not reopen the case. But this morning, the georgia u.S. Attorney tells abc news, he's seen the new report and is continuing to monitor and evaluate the situation. Kendrick was the child that every parent dreamed to have. We want to see justice served. He deserves justice. We'll keep pushing. And push and push and push until the truth come out. Reporter: For "good morning america," matt gutman, abc news, new york. We're going to bring in abc news chief legal affairs anchor, dan abrams right now. Our heart goes out to this family. What are chances they can get the case reopened? Pretty slim. But you can understand from their perspective, right? The idea that their healthy, young, strong son, goes to school, tries to grab a sneaker out of a gym mat rolled up and dies because he gets stuck in there? Their position is, come on. There's no way that could have happened. There must have been something more here. The problem is, the authorities have been investigating it thus far have said they think that this was just a freak accident. They not just on where he was found, but based on the evidence that was found there. Based our surveillance tapes. Based on that no one heard or saw him. The investigator came up with something different when they had the body exhumed. The coroners, they work really hard. And many of them are overworked. And like many of us, sometimes mistakes are made. Absolutely. Could it be? And if the authorities think there's a possibility that there was a mistake, they will reconsider. They haven't really provided new evidence up to this point. They've done a new analysis of the evidence that already existed. And the state authorities would say, we did the autopsy, very close to the time of death. They had to exhume the body and did it later. Right. I'm sure they're not criticizing openly this coroner's report. But basically, they're saying, we're not willing at this point to say we got it wrong or might have gotten it wrong. And as a result, reopen the investigation. They are going to need something else here. Some sort of potential motive. Some sort of potential witness. Somebody who comes forward and gives them that little nugget that will lead the authorities to act. Even though you saw the father re-enacting. It seems it would be highly unlikely something like that could happen. But I think they need a little something. Thanks very much. Happy friday, by the way. We're going to show you a

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