A former employee of a state juvenile-detention center in Hardin County and another man have been indicted on misdemeanor charges for allegedly failing to properly monitor Gynnya McMillen, the 16-year-old died who in January from what authorities have said was a heart condition.
Reginald Windham and Victor Holt were indicted Thursday on one count each of second-degree official misconduct. Commonwealth’s Attorney Shane Young told The News-Enterprise newspaper the charges stemmed from their failure to perform required bed checks on Gynnya.
She was found unresponsive in her cell at the Lincoln Village Regional Juvenile Detention Center on the morning of Jan. 11. An autopsy report said she died in her sleep from a rare heart condition known as sudden cardiac arrhythmia. (Read “Gynnya McMillen Died Of Medical Condition In Juvenile Detention Center, State Says“)
As part of an internal state probe, investigators found missteps and deficiencies in care, as well as misconduct, by employees at Lincoln Village. Six of them, including Windham, failed to do regular bed checks and falsified departmental logs, the state investigation found. Windham was fired last month. Holt’s current employment status could not immediately be determined Friday afternoon.
Young told the Elizabethtown newspaper that nothing Windham and Holt did “led to (Gynnya’s) death” or that they could have prevented it. Rather, Young said, the indictments reflected their role as public employees who allegedly failed to do their jobs properly.
“The basis of the charge is the missed bed checks,” Young told the newspaper. He said he was unsure if other employees could face grand jury indictment.
Investigators also reviewed an incident involving Gynnya and Lincoln Village employees shortly after she was brought to the detention center, and found it too played no role in her death, Secretary John Tilley of the state Justice and Public Safety said Wednesday. The teen allegedly had declined to remove her sweatshirt and several staff members restrained her so she could be searched. (Read “Gynnya McMillen Restrained In Detention Center Altercation Before Her Death, State Says“)
Neither Windham nor Holt could be reached for comment on Friday. If convicted, each could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.
Reporter R.G. Dunlop can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (502) 814.6533.
This story was reported by WFPL’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.