VALDOSTA, GA (WCTV/CNN) – Federal authorities announced Thursday they will reopen the case of Kendrick Johnson's death.
Michael Moore, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said a review of evidence collected had shown "sufficient basis exists" to warrant a formal review of the facts, according to CNN.
"I will follow the facts wherever they lead. My objective is to discover the truth," Moore said.
The 17-year-old teen's body was found inside a rolled up wrestling mat in his high school's gymnasium in January.
Police said it was an accident, but his parents suspected he had been killed. They called for the case to be reopened, and a judge released evidence Wednesday they hoped would force law enforcement to take a second look.
Newly released surveillance video shows Kendrick on the same day he died.
"We examined all the alternatives that were presented to us. The only one that fit the physical evidence and the forensic evidence and the testimony that we received was this as an accident," said Stryde Jones, Lowndes County Sheriff's Department.
Kendrick's parents said they weren't convinced.
"When I went to view his body that Sunday, you see something happened," said Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick's father. "You could tell he was beaten."
A video - along with other evidence - including photos was a legal victory for the family. They petitioned the court to release them for further investigation into their son's death.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney who represented the parents of Trayvon Martin, represents the Johnsons.
"If it's not seen on that video tape, I think the more logical conclusion is someone rolled him in that wrestling mat after he was murdered and I think that is more significant," Crump said. "You will not see him climbing into that wrestling mat, and that helps our case."
In June, the Johnsons had their son's body exhumed and paid for an independent autopsy. The doctor who conducted the autopsy says he found evidence of trauma on the teen's jaw.
He also found newspaper filling Kendrick Johnson's body where his organs should have been.
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