‘Finding Kendrick Johnson’ Explores the Death of Georgia Teen Found Rolled Up in Gym Mat

Finding Kendrick Johnson (Illustration by Nikkolas Smith)

The newly released documentary Finding Kendrick Johnson explores the death of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson whose body was found rolled up in a gym mat at his high school in 2013.

While the state of Georgia ruled his death an accident, Johnson’s family suspected foul play. 

Directed by Jason Pollock and narrated by Jenifer Lewis (Black-ish), the documentary premiered Friday in Los Angeles and is now available on video on demand.

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The film follows a private investigation organized by the family after they hired a forensic pathologist, who found out Johnson’s organs were missing from his body and determined the cause of death to be from non-accidental blunt force trauma.

“The body had been moved. The scene, in my opinion, had been compromised,” Lowndes County coroner Bill Watson says in the trailer. 

In another scene of the trailer, a medical examiner gives harrowing details of the case, including that paper had been stuffed inside the body after Johnson’s organs were removed.  It’s later revealed an FBI agent’s family was investigated in relation to the murder. 

“The case of Kendrick Johnson is one the most important cases in U.S. history,” writer/director Pollock said in a statement. “KJ deserves justice, and hopefully our film will help his family get one step closer to that outcome.” 

“This is the most important film I’ve ever worked on,” added Lewis. “What this family has gone through is unspeakable but we must speak it so the public knows the truth. Jason has done a brilliant job on this vital story of injustice.”

The Johnson family’s quest for justice highlighted in Finding Kendrick Johnson led to the reopening of the investigation. NPR reported in March that the Lowndes County sheriff’s office decided to give the case another look.

Finding Kendrick Johnson is produced by Pollock, Amy McCampbell, Morgan J. Freeman, and Malcolm D. Lee. It is executive produced by Hill Harper,  Lewis, Elizabeth Hurwitz, Dia Sokol Savage, Kurt Engfehr, and Lenny Beckerman. 

The film is now available on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu and other VOD platforms. Watch the trailer for the documentary below: