Search Warrants Executed – The Death Of Kendrick Johnson
On January 10, 2013, the body of 17-year old Kendrick Johnson was discovered in a rolled-up gym mat in the gym of the high school he attended. The Lowndes County Georgia Sheriff’s Office conducted the initial investigation and concluded that Kendrick died from a freak accident. They said he was going for a shoe that was at the bottom of the mat, got stuck, and died from asphyxiation.
Kendrick’s body was subsequently exhumed and the family had an independent autopsy performed that among other things, found that all of Kendrick’s internal organs were missing, and had been replaced with newspaper. The private pathologist concluded the teen died of blunt force trauma to the neck.
Videos from inside the school were released, and caused many questions, many of which pertained to missing portions or what appeared to be edits.
In October 2013, the Department of Justice began an investigation under the direction of U.S. Attorney Michael Moore.
Lawsuits have been filed – so many it is difficult to keep up. Two boys, whose father is an FBI agent, were accused of being implicated in or causing Kendrick’s death. The parents of Brian and Brandon Bell sued a publishing company that reported on the story that implicated the involvement of Kendrick’s school-mates. Kendrick’s parents have filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit, alleging that Brian and Brandon Bell violently assaulted Kendrick, leading to his death.
This past Tuesday, U.S. Marshalls executed warrants on the Bell family and Taylor Eakin, girlfriend of Brian Bell. CBS news reports that Paul Threlkeld, an attorney representing the Bell family and Taylor Eakin, stated
“Yesterday [Tuesday] at 3:30 am, the Bell family was awakened at their home by government agents, executing search warrants in a federal Grand Jury investigation about the death of Kendrick Johnson which is almost 2 years old – a case in which no one has been indicted and in which there is no evidence to implicate involvement of the Bells or any member of the Bell family. The case is built solely on suspicion, innuendo and rumor, not evidence.”
Threlkeld added that the agents seized computers, cell phones and other property.
48 Hours’ Crimesider reports that they learned that this week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office sought access to Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office e-mails regarding the Kendrick Johnson investigation.
11alive reports that attorney Brice Ladson, who represents the Bells, informed them that government agents searched and seized property from the Jacksonville home of FBI agent Rick Bell, father of Brian and Brandon. Ladson appears to be more concerned with communications that he has had with the Bells that might appear on their computers and cell phones, which he says is attorney-client privileged information.
To date, there has been only one arrest in the investigation of Kendrick’s death. In May 2015, Dalton Chauncey admitted to giving false information to the police. Chauncey told the police of a person he said overheard a conversation where two people admitted to being responsible for Kendrick’s death. Chauncey was scheduled to be sentenced on June 18, 2015, but no updates on his sentencing have been reported.
A spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Michael Moore declined to comment except to say the investigation is ongoing.
There has been some criticism from those supporting the Bell brothers that the investigation has taken too long. That is not unusual for the Department of Justice. For example, a 5-year investigation was conducted into the actions of Logan J. Smith and Victoria A. Cheek-Herrera.
The following video, published in November 2014, states that the Bells refused to cooperate with federal investigators. That might be the reason why investigators sought and were issued the search warrants.
Posted on 07/24/2015, in Cases, Kendrick Johnson and tagged Brandon Bell, Brian Bell, investigation, Kendrick Johnson, search warrants, U.S. Attorney Michael Moore. Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.