2 Ky. Jail Staffers Fired in Probe of Death of Gynnya McMillen

Bob Hayter, who had been commissioner of the Kentucky Juvenile Justice Department since 2014, and Reginald Windham, a supervisor at Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center, have been dismissed.

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CBS News

A Kentucky juvenile-justice commissioner and an employee who failed to carry out required bed checks at the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center where a teenage girl was found unresponsive on Jan. 11 have been fired, CBS News reports.

Bob Hayter, who had been commissioner of the state’s Department of Juvenile Justice since 2014, was fired after an investigation into the death of 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen found that Hayter failed to notify his superiors that an employee had been suspended for failing to check on the teen. Reginald Windham, a supervisor at the detention center, was supposed to check on Gynnya every 15 minutes and failed to do so, CBS reports. Windham, who was also let go, allegedly falsified documents by claiming to have made the routine checks after Gynnya was found unresponsive in her cell. 

“Before news accounts late Friday, the Justice Cabinet was not made aware that the employee’s work record included previous disciplinary actions,” Lisa Lamb, spokeswoman for Kentucky’s Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, which oversees the Juvenile Justice Department, said in an emailed statement to CBS News. “While these disciplinary actions were not connected to the death, they reveal a pattern of unacceptable behavior for someone who supervises youth.”

News of the firings comes amid several unanswered questions regarding Gynnya’s death. According to the news station, guards reportedly used an “aikido” martial arts restraint on the teen during the one night she spent in the Elizabethtown, Ky., detention center. Gynnya reportedly failed to answer two offers for food and did not respond when asked if she wanted to take a phone call from her mother. According to reports, on Jan. 11, Gynnya spent three-and-a-half hours in her cell unchecked before she was finally found unresponsive. CBS News notes that “emergency dispatch audio revealed staff also did not immediately attempt to resuscitate [Gynnya] when she was found unresponsive.”

According to the news station, state investigations into Gynnya’s death are close to being completed.

Read more at CBS News.

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