Investigators are scratching their heads after six-year-old Kendrea Johnson was found hanging from a jump rope, the New York Daily News reports.
The child’s body was discovered by a member of her foster family, dangling from her bedroom ceiling. The rope had been tied into a noose around her neck. On the floor were notes written in purple marker. One note read: “I’m sorry.” Another said, “I’m sad for what I do.”
While it appears that her death was the result of a suicide and though Johnson’s psychiatric records show a of history suicidal and homicidal thoughts, investigators are suspicious.
“We just did our due diligence to tear this case apart and look at every angle,” Brooklyn Park Police Deputy Chief Mark Bruley said. “It’s hard to believe that it was even possible. We may never know if it was suicide or an accident.”
According to The Tribune, the crime lab deputy found the knot used to tie the noose to be extremely sophisticated for a 6-year-old.
Those who knew the child say that the night of her death, she was really excited about an upcoming church dance that was scheduled for the next day. She is described by her grandmother, Mary Lee Broadus, 45, as a “happy-go-lucky” child, but her behavior changed once she was placed in foster care. Her mother had been accused of drug abuse. Records show that Johnson was frequently troubled with thoughts of suicide and feelings of guilt. Investigators say that the child had ligature marks on her neck, which may indicate that she tried to hang herself before. According to records, Johnson also drew pictures at school of a child hanging from a rope.
Despite the child’s troubled history, her grandmother, whom she lived with before being admitted into foster care, is convinced that someone else is responsible for her death.
“Somebody did it,” Broadus said.
“They took her and put her in a worse situation,” said the child’s uncle Willie Venzant. “The state didn’t do their job.”
The Minnesota Department of Human Services has temporarily suspended the license of Johnson’s foster mother and the girl’s 1-year-old brother has been removed from her care. No other children remain in the home.