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Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson stand next to a banner on their SUV showing their late son, Kendrick Johnson in Valdosta, Ga., on Dec. 13, 2013.
Russ Bynum—AP

No federal charges will be brought in the case of a Georgia teenager who died inside of a rolled-up gym mat, the Justice Department announced on Monday.

Kendrick Johnson, 17, was found upside down and dead inside of the rolled-up gym mat at Lowndes High School on Jan. 11, 2013, after apparently getting trapped and suffocating while reaching for a gym shoe, the Associated Press reports. The death was ruled a freak accident, but Johnson’s parents believed their son had been murdered and pushed authorities to reopen the case. Incomplete security footage, a delayed call to the coroner and potentially missing organs were all seen as suspicious indicators of foul play.

But three years and several lawsuits later, the Justice Department called the case closed, explaining in a statement that there is “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone or some group of people willfully violated Kendrick Johnson’s civil rights or committed any other prosecutable federal crime.”


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