Society

Black Teen Dies In Kentucky Detention Center In Less Than 24 Hours

| by Michael Allen
Gynnya McMillenGynnya McMillen

Gynnya McMillen, a 16-year-old African-American girl, died in a cell at the Lincoln Village Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on Jan. 11. She was in custody less than 24 hours.

“The child was the perpetrator in the incident and the parent did receive minor injuries,” Kelly Cable, spokesperson for the Shelbyville Police De­partment, said on Jan. 13, The News-Enterprise reported.

“We contacted the court-designated worker," Cable added. "The juvenile was transported to Lincoln Village on a charge of assault fourth-degree — domestic violence with minor injury.”

Cable said the call about the domestic disturbance came in at 1:46 a.m. on Jan. 10. Kentucky State Police Post 4 spokesperson Jeff Gregory said the teen was found unresponsive at 10 a.m. in her cell and pronounced dead on Jan. 11. 

“There wasn’t anything obvious visually from the autopsy,” Hardin County Coroner Dr. William Lee stated, according to The News-Enterprise.

However, the pathology and toxicology reports will take weeks to complete for a full autopsy.

A former employee of the center told the New York Daily News that all the holding cells have surveillance cameras and minors in those cells are supposed to be checked every 15 minutes. The source also said that minors are not normally held in a holding cell overnight.

It's not clear if McMillen was in a holding cell based on the limited information released over the past 11 days by authorities. The general lack of disclosure about the case by authorities is causing concern.

A "Justice for Gynnya McMillen" Facebook page was reportedly created by the teen's sister on Jan. 15, reported CBS News. The page is calling for answers in the young girl's death.

Karen Whaley, a counselor at a support services agency in Louisville, Kentucky, knew McMillen.

"I don't know how she passed and that's the one thing that's blowing me away," Whaley told CBS News on Jan. 18. "That and it being in police custody."

Sources: CBS News, New York Daily News, The News-Enterprise / Photo credit: Justice For Gynnya McMillen/Facebook Screenshot