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Kendrick JohnsonLOWNDES COUNTY, GA — An autopsy report reveals that the death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson, the teen found dead inside a wrestling mat inside his high school’s gymnasium, was accidental.

Last Thursday, the family of Kendrick Johnson called police to report their son had not returned home from Lowndes High School and they were unable to locate him. The following morning, Johnson’s body was found in his high school’s gymnasium, stuffed upside down inside an upright, rolled up wrestling mat.

Initially, Johnson’s death was being treated as a homicide, but the autopsy report showed Johnson had not been in a struggle and had died inside the mat. What actually happened was far less sinister than murder, but just as horrific.

For unknown reasons, Johnson had climbed up on top of some rolled up wrestling mats and then fell inside the center of one. The teen went in head first and found himself stuck upside down and unable to move.

They don’t know for sure, but investigators believe Johnson was trying to retrieve a shoe. “We feel like he was trying to reach a shoe that was down that hole,” Lowndes County Sheriff Chris Prine said, “but no one knows (why he reached into the mat) but him and the good Lord.”

Most people who die after getting themselves lodged upside down, die from suffocation. The rib cage is built so that the lungs can expand into the bodycavity, but when you are upside down, blood will pool in your lungs while your liver and intestines sit on top of them. Your heart will be working harder to get blood to the legs and feet while blood pools in your brain, increasing the chance of a stroke.

In other words, it is a terrifying way to die.

Officials added that additional testing will take place to find out Kendrick’s exact cause of death. Although foul play has been ruled out, Prine is asking that anyone with information on this case to contact the Lownde’s County Sheriff’s Office at 229-671-2950 or online at www.lowndessheriff.com. Anonymous tips can be left at {229} 671-2985.

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