Sheriff offers $500,000 for counterevidence in student death case — Analysis

The alleged sufferer’s household, who referred to as the sheriff a liar, is welcome so as to add to the reward he put out

After the workplace of Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk closed the investigation into the January 2013 demise of a college scholar, his household accused him of mendacity to them and the general public. He responded by providing half 1,000,000 {dollars} of his personal cash for proof leading to a conviction within the case.

Kendrick Johnson’s physique was discovered rolled up head down in a vertically positioned wrestling mat within the Lowndes Excessive Faculty gymnasium in Valdosta, Georgia. After eight years of investigations, the sheriff’s workplace dominated out foul play. Johnson, detectives concluded, most certainly tried to succeed in a shoe he left contained in the mat, turned caught, and died from asphyxiation.

Final Wednesday, the sheriff launched a 16-page abstract of the investigation, which left Johnson’s household unhappy. They consider that their son, who was 17 on the time of his demise, was murdered, presumably by schoolmates, and that regulation enforcement did not unravel the case. They’re crowdfunding to pay a non-public investigator to do what they declare the sheriff’s workplace couldn’t or wouldn’t do, regardless of amassing 17 bins of proof over time.

“You didn’t discover nothing in 17 bins? That’s the craziest lie you may have instructed. We already knew what staff you had been on. You aren’t on the staff of righteousness,” Kendrick’s mom, Jacqueline Johnson, instructed native media.

Sheriff Paulk challenged his accusers on Monday by providing a reward to anybody who can show his investigators unsuitable.

The dad and mom “have referred to as me a liar and proceed to state that Kendrick was murdered,” Paulk stated in an open letter. “Due to these statements, I’m personally – with my very own funds – providing a reward of one-half million {dollars} ($500,000) to anybody who comes ahead with info that ends in the arrest and conviction of an individual for the alleged homicide.”

The sheriff stated he doesn’t count on the cash to ever be collected by anybody, saying his folks left no stone unturned earlier than concluding that Kendrick’s demise was a “bizarre accident.” However, he referred to as on the household so as to add to the reward he’s providing.

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The household has been preventing for years to maintain the investigation going. That they had it renewed after the sheriff’s workplace closed it in 2016, and pushed for the involvement of federal authorities.

The ultimate report launched this 12 months included supplies from the Justice Division, the FBI, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the US Lawyer’s Workplace for the Center District of Georgia, and a number of other different regulation enforcement companies, in addition to extra autopsies by a health care provider employed by the household and the Protection Division.

The primary of the autopsies was a significant component behind the household’s marketing campaign, because it cited “unexplained, obvious non-accidental, blunt pressure trauma” because the possible reason for demise, contradicting the conclusions of the report issued by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The second, performed after Kendrick Johnson’s physique was exhumed in 2018, got here to the identical conclusion.

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