ATLANTA - A local church community plans to take its fight for answers in a Valdosta teenager's mysterious death to the Capitol steps this week.
Inside the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church Sunday, the congregation stood in faith alongside Kenneth and Jacqueline Johnson, who lost their 17-year-old son nearly a year ago. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation ruled his death an accident.
"The reputation of our state is on the line, and we cannot allow Georgia to have a moral and ethical black eye," said Senior Pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church Raphael Warnock.
In January, Kendrick Johnson was found dead inside a rolled up gym mat at his high school. The family and supporters said they continue to seek the truth and justice for him, and will take their plea to the state Capitol steps Wednesday.
"Our message at that rally and our message that afternoon is simple and very clear: The lives of all of our children matter," Warnock said.
Kendrick Johnson's parents have been in vigil for months as they seek more answers in their son's death. GBI investigators said Kendrick suffocated while trying to retrieve a shoe from a rolled up mat. A second autopsy, ordered by the family, found the teen had a blow to the neck.
"We are not making any accusations, we are not making any recriminations. We are calling for an investigation," Jaqueline Johnson said.
Kendrick's parents said few words and only made one request.
"So I'm asking everybody to stand with us as we fight this fight to the get the truth for my son," Jaqueline said.
The Johnson's and supporters will gather Wednesday on the steps of the state Capitol to make the plea to Gov. Nathan Deal for further investigation of this case.