(CNN) — In a scathing report recently obtained by CNN, the coroner in the case of a Georgia teen found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat blasted how the initial investigation was handled.
Authorities say Kendrick Johnson fell into the mat and suffocated while trying to retrieve a sneaker. His family suspects the 17-year-old was murdered and that someone has tried to cover up evidence in the case.
“I was not notifedi n (sic) this death until 15:45 hours. The investigative climate was very poor to worse when I arrived on the scene. The body had been noticably (sic) moved. The scene had been compromised and there was no cooperation from law enforcement at the scene. Furthermore the integrity of the evidence bag was compromised on January 13, 2013 by opening the sealed bag and exhibiting the dead body to his father,” wrote Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson in a report dated January 22.
“I do not approve of the manner this case was handled. Not only was the scene compromised, the body was moved. The integrrety (sic) was breached by opening a sealed body bag, information necessary for my lawful investigation was withheld,” he said.
The coroner’s death investigation report was obtained by CNN through an open records request directed at the coroner’s office.
A second coroner’s death investigation report was provided by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.
The second report, which is not signed nor dated, is not nearly as critical as the first.
“I was not called by investigating officers regarding this death until the afore listed time of notification,” it read.
It was not immediately clear why there were two coroner’s reports. The inconsistencies between them were also not clear.
When contacted by CNN, a lawyer for the Lowndes County sheriff and the Lowndes County coroner declined to address specific questions about the reports.
“In light of the US attorney’s review of this matter, the Lowndes County sheriff and the Lowndes County coroner will not comment further on this case. They will fully cooperate and respond to all inquiries of the United States attorney,” Jim Elliott wrote in an e-mail.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Macon, Georgia, opened an investigation into the case last week.