Parents file suit blaming classmates in son's gym mat death

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Lawsuit Blames Classmates For Gym Mat Death

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - The parents of a Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat two years ago have filed a lawsuit accusing classmates of killing him at school in a case that was covered up by school officials and investigators.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson of Valdosta names 38 defendants, including three Lowndes High School classmates it says attacked Johnson on Jan. 10, 2013. Sheriff's investigators concluded the teenager died in a freak accident after becoming stuck upside down in the mat. No criminal charges have been filed.

Leigh Touchton, a former Valdosta NAACP president who has closely followed the case, says allegations in the lawsuit filed Monday are outrageous and unfounded.

Federal authorities are still conducting their own investigation launched in October 2013.

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Kendrick Johnson - Wrestling Mat Death
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Parents file suit blaming classmates in son's gym mat death
Family honors two-year anniversary of Kendrick Johnson’s death http://t.co/HekYCVm5iV http://t.co/AtfGGNFWqa
We stand with the family of Kendrick Johnson. We admire their strength and dedication. We will get #JusticeForKJ. http://t.co/0Olfdk5mPK
#KendrickJohnson #optitletown http://t.co/NTikwwhtld
Lies, hidden agendas and questions surround #KendrickJohnson's death: http://t.co/mM3ppzIeaB http://t.co/Ij7IGyx4pw
Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson stand next to a banner on their SUV showing their late son, Kendrick Johnson, on Dec. 13, 2013, in Valdosta, Ga. The 17 year old was found dead inside a rolled up gym mat at his high school Jan. 11, 2013, and authorities ruled it was a freak accident. Kendrick's family believes someone killed him and has been fighting to reopen the case. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)
Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson, whose son Kendrick was found dead in a wrestling mat, appear at a press conference on Thursday, Oct. 31 2013 in Tallahassee, Fla. A federal prosecutor said Thursday that he is conducting a formal review of facts and evidence in the death of a teenager whose body was found inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his high school gym. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)
Kenneth Johnson rolls up his sleeve to show a tattoo of his late son, 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson, on Dec. 13, 2013, in Valdosta, Ga. The teenager was found dead Jan. 11, 2013, inside a rolled up gym mat at his high school and authorities concluded it was a freak accident. Kendrick's family believes he was killed and has fought to reopen the case. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)
Elsie Williams, center, Jarius Humprey, second right, and Yvette Humphrey, right, pray with relatives of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson on Dec. 13, 2013, in Valdosta, Ga. Johnson was found dead inside a rolled gym mat at his high school on Jan. 11, 2013, and authorities concluded he died in a freak accident. His family is fighting to reopen the case. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)
Keisha Moore, an aunt of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson, waves at passing traffic as she sits with the teenager's mother, Jacquelyn Johnson, outside the Lowndes County courthouse in Valdosta, Ga., on Dec. 13, 2013. Kendrick Johnson was found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat on Jan. 11, 2013, and his family has rejected investigators' conclusion that he died in an accident. The teenagers' parents and relatives have been camping out with protest signs outside the courthouse every weekday for months. (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)
A tear rolls down the cheek of Carol Green as she attends a "Who Killed K.J." rally, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta, in memory of Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school. Lawyers for Johnson's parents are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest into his death. Johnson's body was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. However, Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Jacquelyn Johnson, second from left, the mother of Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, is embraced by Monique Mosely, left, as Johnson's daughter Kenyetta, right, stands by following a rally, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest into his death. Johnson's body was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him, and they spoke, along with their lawyers, Wednesday at a "Who Killed K.J." rally held on the steps of the Georgia Capitol. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Jacquelyn Johnson, the mother of Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, wears a necklace in his memory during a rally, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. Johnson's parents and their lawyers spoke Wednesday at a "Who Killed K.J." rally held on the steps of the Georgia Capitol. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Jacquelyn Johnson, left, stands next to her husband Kenneth, right, at a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of their son, Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Makayah Evans, 9, listens to a speech during a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of her cousin Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Demonstrators hold signs in front of the Georgia State Capitol during a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Regina Rawls chants during a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of Kendrick Johnson, seen on the sign at right, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, speaks during a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, at the State Capitol in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A demonstrator holds up a sign in front of the Georgia State Capitol during a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Carol Green, right, and Keisha Moore, left, observe a moment of prayer during a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Tesha Tooley carries a sign with the image of her nephew, Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, during a "Who Killed K.J." rally, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest into his death. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Martin Luther King III, left, the son of the late civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., speaks at a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest into his death. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
An image of Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, is displayed on a banner, as demonstrators attend a "Who Killed K.J." rally, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest into his death. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Demonstrators join hands in a moment of prayer during a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of Kendrick Johnson, seen on the banner at right, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A tear rolls down the cheek of Keisha Moore as she attends a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of her nephew Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Demonstrators listen to a speech during a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of Kendrick Johnson, seen on the posterboard at left, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest into his death. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Leon Ford bows his head during a moment of prayer during a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of Kendrick Johnson, seen on the banner at left, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Jacquelyn Johnson, center left, wipes a tear while speaking with her husband Kenneth, right, at a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of their son, Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Benjamin Crump, rear left, and fellow lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Leon Ford, center, joins hands with, from left, Makayah Evans, 9, Mercedes Binns, Latonya Green, and Jaheym Spears, 11, during a "Who Killed K.J." rally in memory of Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Jacquelyn Johnson, second from left, the mother of Kendrick Johnson, the south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in his school, is embraced by Monique Mosely, left, as Johnson's daughter Kenyetta, right, stands by following a rally, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Atlanta. Lawyers for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson are calling on the governor to order a coroner's inquest into his death. The body of Johnson was found Jan. 11, and sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident. Johnson's parents insist someone must have killed him. Johnson's parents and their lawyers spoke Wednesday at a "Who Killed K.J." rally held on the steps of the Georgia Capitol. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Lies, hidden agendas and questions surround #KendrickJohnson's death: http://t.co/mM3ppzIeaB http://t.co/Ij7IGyx4pw
Family honors two-year anniversary of Kendrick Johnson’s death http://t.co/HekYCVm5iV http://t.co/AtfGGNFWqa
We stand with the family of Kendrick Johnson. We admire their strength and dedication. We will get #JusticeForKJ. http://t.co/0Olfdk5mPK
#KendrickJohnson #optitletown http://t.co/NTikwwhtld
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