Kendrea Johnson a 6-year-old, was found dead by her foster father with a jump rope fashioned into a noose around her neck, New York Daily News is reporting. On the floor, there was a bucket of water and notes that read, “I’m sorry” and “I’m sad for what I do” written in purple marker.
She died on December 27, and her death has left investigators absolutely stumped. She was so young and the level of intricacy that the noose was tied with exceeds “what a normal 6-year-old could think about,” as Brooklyn Park, Minnesota Deputy Chief Mark Burley shared with the Star Tribune. “We just did our due diligence to tear this case apart and look at every angle. It’s hard to believe that it was even possible. We may never know if it was suicide or an accident.” An accident? Kendrea’s grandmother, Mary Lee Broadus believes that someone killed her grandchild.
Broadus told the Star Tribune that she did not believe that the girl hanged herself. “Somebody did it,” Broadus said Wednesday. “Kendrea knew not to put anything around her neck or any bags over her head,” Broadus said. She was a “happy-go-lucky kid” and “a normal 6-year-old” who didn’t exhibit signs of mental illness, she said.
Kendrea became sad and lonely once placed in foster care. At first, she lived with Dareesha Waddle, her birth mother, who is a substance abuser. For a short time, Kendrea then moved into Broadus’ home until placed into foster families starting December 2013. From there, it’s being reported she experienced thoughts of suicide and stress, receiving therapy for multiple anxiety issues. A June exam noted that under observation she expressed “severe guilt and that she did not feel lovable or acceptable and [felt] guilty and responsible for out-of-home placement.” Reports say that when Kendrea was in school, it wasn’t uncommon of her to draw pictures of children hanging by a rope and she also threatened to kill her foster mom with a screwdriver and jump out a window.
Investigators didn’t want to close the case at a 6-year-old plotting her own death, yet all evidence under a spotlight said otherwise. Another huge factor to the suicide answer was that healed “ligature” marks were on her neck, strongly implying she had attempted asphyxiation before.
Family members on her behalf still believe that someone else is behind the child’s death. Her uncle Willie Venzant stated “They took her and put her in a worse situation. The city [of Brooklyn Park] didn’t do their job.”
Her foster family has since had their license revoked until further notice and no funeral arrangements have been made yet.