This composite photo has appeared online with the question, “Does this seriously look like an accidental death to you?”
No good can be accomplished by showing this photo collage with that question. It’s misleading and needlessly inflammatory, and makes the questioners look either ignorant, or like intentional liars. Please let me explain why.
I absolutely believe that the whole story of Kendrick Johnson’s death has not been told. Every single detail needs to be explained, and the more time that goes by without answers, the more dirty and corrupt the whole thing looks. And the facts are bad enough, before any exaggeration is applied to them. It does no good to imply that the wounds on his back caused his death in some way. They were acquired later.
In the composite, the photo that is repeated twice is how KJ looked the day after his death, when extricated from the rolled-up mat. His body, whether living or dead, spent a lot of time upside-down, and that causes terrible disfigurement, because all the blood in the person’s entire circulatory system tries to obey gravity by pooling at the lowest point. This is why, for instance, the whites of a victim’s eyes turn red (as his did).
Here is the really intriguing question. In some of the morgue photos – before any step of the autopsy procedure was started – large areas of skin had peeled away from Kendrick’s jaw and the side and back of his neck. Smaller areas of skin were abraded from the right arm and shoulder. I wish someone who has seen the postmortem photos would explain that.
I read that “skin slip” might occur on a corpse after about a week. But how does death by inversion cause the skin to peel off within a day? If someone reads this who actually knows, please tell.
In this collage, the gory picture at the top is from the autopsy, although the two incisions along the back aren’t routine, and I’d be happy to hear from anybody who knows the medical/forensic reason for making them. At any rate, those wounds were not made by an attacker. Perhaps some other wounds were made by an attacker, and caused Kendrick Johnson’s death. But what you see in this picture is official autopsy work.
The question that REALLY needs to be asked is, what happened to KJ’s internal organs after this autopsy? Why were they disposed of? Did someone fear that closer examination of any of those organs would reveal evidence of foul play? Yes, asking that question takes a little more thought than just going for the shock reaction of these bloody pictures. But it is the question really worth asking.
Here’s another one. Did someone really cut KJ’s fingernails after death? Because a story is going around that he kept his nails long, and if someone trimmed them after he died, it was from fear that the DNA of an attacker might be found under his nails. That is also a question worth pursuing.
The black and white photo
The picture at the bottom right, to the best of my understanding, was taken months later, when KJ’s body was exhumed for a second autopsy. It looks so horrifying because he had already been through one autopsy, where the skin of the face is peeled down from the skull. I could be wrong about this, but I’m guessing the family hadn’t planned on an open-casket memorial service anyway, so there was no reason to try and reconstruct the face before burial. At the time, nobody realized he would be dug back up again.
So when he was exhumed, there was that surprise. And also the other surprise of the missing internal organs. How many different anomalies might have potentially been found by a closer examination of those organs? These are the questions whose answers are REALLY worth seeking.
Here is the problem with the kind of sensationalism that tries to suggest the back wounds were the cause of death. Already, the Johnson family has many critics, along with a whole raft of trolls who say that all of us questioners are “conspiracy theorists,” and so forth. Why give them ammunition?
It’s useless to mislead people by suggesting that KJ died from being carved, and it subtracts from the strength and righteousness that live in the real question: How DID he die?