A week after Gynnya McMillen died at the Lincoln Valley Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, police have yet to release a cause of death. The 16-year-old girl was found unresponsive in her holding cell on Monday, January 11th.
McMillen had only been in the detention center for 24 hours following an altercation in her home.
“The child was the perpetrator in the incident and the parent did receive minor injuries,” said Kelly Cable, spokesman for the Shelbyville Police Department. “We contacted the court-designated worker. The juvenile was transported to Lincoln Village on a charge of assault fourth-degree – domestic violence with minor injury.”
According to CBS, an autopsy report found no outward signs of “visual bruising” and the teen did not have any heart related conditions. It will take several more weeks for pathology tests to be conducted on the teen in hopes of determining the cause of death.
Apparently, McMillen’s family has not been given substantial information on what may have occurred in the hours leading up to the teen’s death. According to a former employee at the detention center, there are a plethora of cameras throughout the facility and guards are supposed to check-in on the teens in custody every 15 minutes.
A Facebook page demanding justice for McMillen has since been created by one of the victim’s relatives, Lache Simms. “My 16yr old sister died in custody of a detention center but they’re not giving out any info on how she was found and they’re saying (her) autopsy shows no cause of death” said the social media post. A GoFundMe page has also been created to cover the family’s funeral expenses.
It’s unclear whether McMillen was in foster care, but she seems to have a previous history with social services. Karen Whaley, a residential counselor for Home of the Innocents, a Louisville, Ky.-based support-services agency, shared that the Gynnya she remembered was a “quiet, beautiful person.”
“I don’t know how she passed, and that’s the one thing that’s blowing me away. That and it being in police custody,” said Whaley.
Stacy Floden, director of communications/program services and public information officer for the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice, said the last in-custody death of a juvenile at a department facility was in 1999.
Stay tuned for the latest developments in the case.