Georgia sheriff reopens case of teenager’s gym mat death

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia sheriff says he’s reopened an investigation into the 2013 death of a teenager whose body was found inside a rolled-up gym mat at his high school.

Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said Wednesday he is personally leading a new examination of the death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson of Valdosta after the U.S. Justice Department gave the sheriff’s office 17 boxes of evidence it collected in its own investigation that ended in 2016.

Federal authorities never brought charges in the case and state and local investigators concluded years earlier that Johnson died in a freak accident.

His parents have long insisted he was slain. Family spokesman Marcus Coleman said Johnson’s parents are grateful the case getting a fresh start.

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