Coroner Says Probe Of Death In Gym Mat Was Botched

Coroner said the evidence was compromised during the initial investigation

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The coroner investigating the death of the Georgia teen who died in a gym mat in January didn’t approve of the way the case was handled and said the evidence was compromised, according to newly released documents.

“I was not [notified of] this death until 15:45 hours,” Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson wrote in a Jan. 22 report, according to CNN. “The investigative climate was very poor to worse when I arrived on the scene. The body had been [noticeably] moved.”

The coroner also said “there was no cooperation from law enforcement at the scene.” A second, less critical report was also filed, though it was neither dated nor signed, CNN reports. It is not clear why there were two reports.

Since the death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson on Jan. 13, authorities have maintained that the teen died after suffocating inside of a rolled-up gym mat while trying to retrieve a sneaker. Johnson’s family suspects foul play.

Lawyers for the Johnson family are also questioning newly-released surveillance images that have time codes missing and are blurry and out-of-position at the spot where Johnson’s body was discovered.