'Wrestler trapped inside mats dies' and more news from the Chattanooga region

'Wrestler trapped inside mats dies' and more news from the Chattanooga region

January 16th, 2013 by Wire Service in Local Regional News

Wrestler trapped inside mats dies

VALDOSTA, Ga. - A South Georgia high school student apparently climbed atop an upright roll of wrestling mats, fell into a center opening and died after he became trapped inside, authorities said.

Lowndes High School student Kendrick Johnson, 17, became lodged upside down in the roll of mats, Lowndes County sheriff's officials said Monday. His body was found Friday morning in the high school's old gym after his family reported him missing Thursday night.

No foul play is suspected, authorities said. An autopsy and an investigation by sheriff's officials and the GBI found no signs of a struggle, Sheriff Chris Prine told The Valdosta Times.

Johnson may have been reaching for a shoe that had fallen into the mat, Prine said. A shoe was found at the scene.

"We feel like he was trying to reach a shoe that was down that hole," the sheriff said in a statement, adding no one knows for sure.

Johnson was trapped upside down, with blood rushing to his head and upper extremities, causing him to pass out, the sheriff said. Keeping a human body upside down for an extended period of time can be deadly, causing hemorrhaging, stroke and heart failure.

Investigators will continue interviewing students and Johnson's friends.


Guard charged after texts defiled

JACKSON, Tenn. - Police in Jackson have charged a hotel security guard with defacing a copy of the Torah and Jewish prayer books.

According to The Jackson Sun, police charged Justin Shawn Baker, 24, with felony vandalism.

Rabbi Gil Perl of Margolin Hebrew Academy in Memphis said he laid out the texts Friday evening for a Saturday worship service in a conference room of the Doubletree Hotel in Jackson.

On Saturday morning, he found the Torah and several prayer books defaced or written in with phrases that included, "Gentiles win, Jews lose" and "Submit to Satan."

Police said Baker works for Maxxguard, a security company, and worked from 10 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday at the hotel. He was arrested Saturday. Police released information on the crime Monday.


Teen births fall to historic low

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama Department of Public Health has announced the state's teen birth rate has reached a historic low.

Officials say the teen birth rate in 2011 fell to 20.9 per 1,000 women ages 10 to 19. State health officials say the figure translates to about 6,700 births to teen mothers.

State health officials say babies born to teenage mothers account for about 11.3 percent of births in the state. The 2011 rate is a 58 percent decline from the state's peak in teen births in 1973, and a 32 percent decrease since 2000.