Martial arts hold used on teen before detention center death

AP News
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Posted: Feb 01, 2016 5:04 PM

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A martial arts hold was used on a teenager hours before she was found dead at a Kentucky detention center, according to the state Department of Juvenile Justice.

Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center officials found 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen of Shelby County unresponsive in her cell at the Elizabethtown facility on Jan. 11, multiple media outlets reported.

Stacy Floden of the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice wrote in an email that the Aikido restraint was used because the girl refused to remove her sweatshirt so she could be searched during the booking process. An Aikido restraint typically immobilizes a person's arm.

"Repeated refusal to cooperate with staff and remove her outer garment prompted the restraint," Floden wrote.

Floden said a staff member eventually conducted the pat-down and removed the teenager's hoodie.

State officials had previously confirmed that an employee at the detention center failed to make all required visual bed checks. In a statement, the Kentucky Justice Cabinet said the employee has been placed on special investigative leave with pay.

Officials have said it appears that McMillen died in her sleep. They said she had arrived at the detention center Jan. 10 after allegedly having a domestic dispute with her mother in Shelbyville.

McMillen's family has hired attorney Ron Hillerich to look into the matter.

"We're not exactly sure what happened but I can tell you this. A 16-year-old child should not die in a state run facility," Hillerich told WLKY-TV.

McMillen's death remains under investigation. Her cause of death hasn't yet been determined. Officials are awaiting test results.