An employee at a Kentucky juvenile detention center has been placed on paid leave pending an investigation into the death of a Black teen at the facility this month. Gynna McMillen 16, was found dead Jan. 11, a day after she was taken to the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center.
Video surveillance of McMillen’s room was under “under continuos monitoring,” leading up to her death. However, the unidentified under “special investigation” failed to check up on McMillen “every 15 minutes” in accordance with facility rules.
The teen reportedly passed away in her sleep. No signs of trauma were found, though toxicology results won’t be available for weeks. Her death is under investigation by the Department of Juvenile Justice, a Department of Corrections spokesperson confirmed Wednesday (Jan. 27).
A statement from the department says “the youth had direct visual monitoring by staff at various intervals throughout the night and morning hours where staff looked in her room to see that she was sleeping and in no apparent distress.”
McMillen was arrested on a misdemeanor assault charge following a “domestic incident” with her mom, and had never been in detention prior to the her passing. The morning she was discovered deceased, McMillen reportedly didn’t respond to a 6:30 a.m. breakfast call, or a snack two hours later. A sheriff wasn’t alerted until 9:55 a.m.
“It doesn’t make sense,” said McMillen’s sister, LaChe Simms. “It just doesn’t make sense. If she was just not moving at all, they should have tried to wake her up. If your child doesn’t get up for breakfast, what are you going to do? You’re going to find out what’s wrong.”