Mystery Thickens Around Gynnya McMillen's Death

The teenager died earlier this month in a juvenile detention center in Kentucky
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2016 5:48 AM CST
Mystery Thickens Around Gynnya McMillen's Death
Gynnya McMillen, 16, died alone in a cell in juvenile detention in mid-January.   (Facebook)

The morning after 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen was brought to the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center in Louisville, Ky., she was found alone in her cell, dead. It's been almost two weeks, but neither local nor state officials are going public with any information regarding how she died, reports CBS News. Not only is it unclear why she had no roommate in the cell or how often she was checked on, the teenager was apparently healthy, with the Hardin County coroner saying there were no physical signs of foul play and expressing doubts that she had a heart condition. "It's a complete mystery right now," says Dr. William Lee, who notes it could take weeks to get toxicology results. The last person to die in custody at a Department of Juvenile Justice facility was in 1999, the year of Gynnya's birth.

What we do know, according to the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, is that Gynnya was taken into custody just before 2am on Jan. 10 following an alleged altercation in a private residence. A police department rep calls Gynnya the "perpetrator"; minor injuries were observed on the victim, and Gynnya was charged with misdemeanor assault. She was found dead Jan. 11. Her sister has started a Facebook page calling for justice, and more than 20 people have contributed to a GoFundMe campaign to "not only bring Gynnya's case to justice but to also raise awareness of the things that go on in these facilities." The New York Daily News, meanwhile, spoke to an unnamed former employee of the detention center who said that juveniles kept in holding cells are to be checked at 15-minute intervals, though it's unclear if that's the type of cell Gynnya was in. (A report last year slammed the juvenile justice system for failing our girls.)

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