Former Juvenile Justice official wants job back after investigat - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Former Juvenile Justice official wants job back after investigation found misconduct surrounding teen's death

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Bob Hayter, former Commissioner for Kentucky's Department of Juvenile Justice. Bob Hayter, former Commissioner for Kentucky's Department of Juvenile Justice.

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Bob Hayter worked for Kentucky's Department of Juvenile Justice for more ten years.

In 2014, he was appointed to serve as Commissioner, overseeing 28 youth facilities and 1300 employees.

"There was nobody better for that agency than I was. Safety and security of the youth is number one. Everything that I did revolved around that," said Hayter.

But on Jan. 11, 2016, his biggest fear became a reality.

Gynnya McMillen, 16, was found dead in a private room at the Lincoln Village Regional Detention Center, which was under surveillance video.

"I saw that she went to bed at night that night and she laid still and never woke up again. Just absolutely amazing, tragic. Absolutely tragic," Hayter explained.

In a press conference held Wednesday, Kentucky Justice Secretary John Tilley presented the findings from the state’s investigation.

“Medical examiners have concluded that the death resulted from a rare heart condition known as sudden cardiac arrhythmia," said Tilley.

The state concluded there was no foul play in McMillen's death, but acknowledged a pattern of misconduct at the detention center, including an employee who did not perform the required bed checks for McMillen.

That employee, Reginald Windham, was fired, and so was Hayter.

"The bottom line is, we needed new leadership in that position and I made that call," Tilley said,

Hayter said if there were any major problems in the system, they're ones that he inherited from past administration.

"I can't believe they let me go. We looked at all the film and I think as an agency we did all we could do or should have done with the exception of a few checks," said Hayter. "I feel sorry for her and her family, I really do. But unfortunately, my name is connected to her forever.”

"I'll never get over this. It made me look bad, like I did something wrong,” he explained. “They were looking for a way to get the media off their backs.”

Feeling like a scapegoat, Hayter said the case has kept him from getting a new job. But his supporters are encouraging him to fight back.

"I want my job back. I would like to have it because I we doing something good I think for the state, for the agency and I still have work to do. I'd like to ask the governor to reappoint me now that I’ve been vindicated," said Hayter.

Governor Matt Bevin has not yet appointed a new commissioner.

Copyright 2016 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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