Crowd demands answers outside Hardin County juvenile detention center where teen found dead
Gynnya McMillen, 16, was found dead around 10 a.m. on Jan. 11 inside of a room at the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabethtown.
ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) – A crowd gathered Sunday night outside the juvenile detention center in Hardin County where a teenage girl died earlier this month.
Gynnya McMillen, 16, was found dead around 10 a.m. on Jan. 11 inside of a room at the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabethtown. A sheriff’s deputy found her when he had arrived to bring her to court on a domestic violence charge.
Surveillance video from the teenager’s 24-hour stay at the facility shows employees entered her room three times on the morning of her death, but she didn’t respond. Officials say each time, they left without interacting with her.
The Hardin County Coroner estimates Gynnya had been dead for about three hours when her body was discovered.
Stacy Floden, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice says that the day before the teen’s death, staff used an “Aikido restraint” on her after she refused to remover her sweatshirt for a pat-down and booking photo.
Floden says the martial arts technique was used to “ensure the safety of the youth and staff”. It remains unclear if that restraint played any role in her death.
The organizers of Sunday night's candlelight service outside the juvenile detention center say the goal was to provide a place to mourn, while also raising awareness of what happened and demanding answers.
“We want answers for the family. Most importantly, they’re not giving them accurate answers, so we just think this is what needs to be done,” said M.L. Butler, one of the event organizers.
“Out of all the security cameras in the building, no one saw anything? No one heard anything? How is that possible?” said Minister Khame Muhammad, who attended the vigil.
“If it was my family, if it was your family, we all would want answers about what happened to this little girl,” said T.J. Dillworth, a vigil attendee.
“I mean, it’s sad enough to know that your baby is locked up and never coming home, but it’s even sadder when you know that your baby’s dead, and no one can tell you anything,” said April Robertson, who also attended the service.
An autopsy did not determine a cause of death for Gynnya, though the coroner says there were no obvious signs of a heart problem.
Toxicology results are expected in the coming weeks. Investigators say they could shed some light on what happened.
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