Juvenile detention worker who failed to check on 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen has been fired
Employee had "a pattern of unacceptable behavior for someone who supervises youth," according to justice cabinet.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A Lincoln Village Juvenile Regional Center employee who failed to check on 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen at required 15-minute intervals has been fired less than a month after the teen was found dead in her room on Jan. 11.
Reginald Windham, who had been with the state's juvenile justice department for 10 years, had been placed on paid administrative leave for failing "to carry out required bed checks on the youth," according to a statement.
In a statement, the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet said they did not know Windham had previous disciplinary actions until it was reported in the media on Friday.
Windham had a record of negligence and using excessive force against residents, according to personnel files obtained by BuzzFeed News through an open-records request.
In one incident, according to BuzzFeed, Windham slammed a youth resident to the ground on Sept. 6, 2006, for what he said was showing defiance and disrespect toward staff.
"While these disciplinary actions were not connected to the death (of Gynnya), they reveal a pattern of unacceptable behavior for someone who supervises youth," according to the statement from the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.
Also, Bob Hayter, who served as commissioner of the Department of Juvenile Justice, "was relieved of duties," according to the statement. There were no other details on Hayter's departure and a spokeswoman declined to comment. Hayter had been commissioner since November 2014.
An investigation into Gynnya's death by Kentucky State Police and the Justice Cabinet’s Internal Investigations Branch is close to being completed, according to the statement.
"Results will first be shared with the youth’s family, and information will be released to the public to the fullest extent allowed by law."
Video surveillance shows Gynnya's last movements came shortly before midnight on Jan. 10, about ten hours before she was found unresponsive, according to a Hardin County coroner.
The coroner, Dr. William Lee, said video shows Gynnya McMillen changed positions in her bed about 12 a.m. and then did not move again. He estimated she had been dead about three hours when a sheriff's deputy arrived at the Lincoln Village Regional Juvenile Detention Center to bring her to court about 10 a.m. on Jan. 11.
When she arrived at the facility, after being arrested in a domestic violence incident at her home, the teen was physically restrained by staff because she refused to remove her hooded sweatshirt as part of the booking process.
Gynnya was in a private room at the Lincoln Village Regional Juvenile Detention Center and under video surveillance the entire 24 hours she was in custody after she was arrested on a domestic violence charge.
A Shelby County Sheriff’s deputy arrived at about 9:55 a.m. to take Gynnya to her court appearance. Employees were unable to wake the teen and medical staff was notified, Floden said.
Lee said an autopsy ruled out foul play, as there were no obvious signs of trauma or a drug overdose. A toxicology report will take about six weeks.
Lee said the autopsy showed no obvious congenital heart problems.
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