Teen Dies in Kentucky Detention Center, Staff Waits 11 Minutes to Perform CPR

By Kenrya Rankin Feb 01, 2016

On January 10, 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen arrived at the Lincoln Village Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, following a domestic dispute with her mother. The next morning, the sheriff’s deputy tasked with taking her to court found McMillien “cold” in her cell. She was pronounced dead 20 minutes later.

Now, 911 audio released on Saturday (January 30) reveals that the staff waited 11 minutes to perform CPR after discovering her in the solo cell. CBS’s 48 Hours Crimesider reports the following chain of events:

Nine minutes passed between the deputy’s arrival and the first call to 911, at 10:04 a.m.

About 1 ½ minutes later, the emergency dispatcher asked a Lincoln Village nurse if CPR was being performed.

"No it’s not," the nurse said.

"They want us to start CPR," she can then be heard saying to someone at the facility.

"Do y’all have a CPR protocol or do y’all need it?" the dispatcher asked about 10 seconds later.

"I’m new, I can find out, I don’t know," the nurse replied.

By 10:07, dispatch confirmed that CPR was beginning, and that McMillen was "cold to the touch." Eight minutes later, an EMS supervisor radioed dispatch and declared McMillen dead. It is not clear if a defibrillator was used at any time. McMillen’s body was on the way to the county coroner by 11:33.

The lapse in care is just the latest news in a case that has prompted criticism from McMillen’s family. First, the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice issued a statement saying that staffers used an “Aikido restraint” on the teen when she decline to remove her hoodie for a pat down and booking photograph, leaving people to wonder if the martial arts move contributed to her death. The official line is that “the youth appears to have passed away while sleeping and the preliminary autopsy report shows no cause or manner of death.” Hardin County Coroner William Lee Jr. told Crimesider that there was no “visual bruising” that pointed to a conclusive cause of death and that it was unlikely that the teenager suffered from a heart condition.

Another question centers around McMillen’s care before she was discovered at 9:55 am. She was locked in the cell on January 10, and didn’t respond the next morning when food was offered at 6:30 am, when it was offered again two hours later or when her mother called. And despite protocol that requires checking on isolated juveniles every 15 minutes, the checks apparently did not happen, making it unclear when McMillen actually died. An internal investigation is underway, and center employee Reginald Windham has been placed on paid administrative leave for his failure to perform those checks, pending the outcome of the probe. Investigators are also examining surveillance video that should have captured McMillen’s time in the cell.

Listen to the 911 audio below.