KY Juvenile Detention Employee On Leave After Teen Dies In Cell


An employee at a Kentucky juvenile detention center offered breakfast to Gynnya McMillen, 16, more than three hours before officials realized she had died in her cell, reports CBS News. McMillen did not respond to the 6:30 a.m. offer, according to the Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet. It’s not clear if she was alive or dead at the time, conscious or unconscious. Two hours later, an employee offered a snack. Again McMillen did not respond. “Nor did she respond when asked if she wanted to accept a phone call,” said Justice Cabinet spokesperson Lisa Lamb. Officials confirmed that Reginald Windham, a Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center employee, was placed on paid administrative leave. Officials said Windham, a 10-year employee, failed to check on McMillen every 15 minutes, a requirement for those in isolation at Lincoln Village.

Experts said the lack of communication at breakfast on Jan. 11 should have immediately set off alarm bells. Instead, officials say they did not realize anything was wrong until 9:55 a.m., when a sheriff’s deputy arrived to bring McMillen to court. Staff should have been more assertive in attempting to communicate with her, said Michele Deitch, a juvenile justice expert at the University of Texas at Austin. “Really the job of the juvenile detention staff is to engage with the kids,” Deitch said. “Especially in the beginning of this period when they’ve just been detained, there’s this kind of shock.”

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