On January 11 of this year, 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen died in a cell at the Lincoln Village Juvenile Detention Center in Kentucky. Now surveillance footage has come out which shows a staffer watching as McMillen struggled to breathe while having a seizure.
On January 10, McMillen was brought to the detention center after her mother, Michelle, called 911 during an altercation. When she was booked in the center, officials say that McMillen refused to remove her hoodie to be photographed and searched by the staff.
Four staffers then used a martial arts move called the "Aikido restraint" to search the teen and remove her hoodie. Afterwards, McMillen was lifted to her feet and escorted to her cell. While being held in the cell overnight, McMillen suffered from extreme coughing and a seizure. Ten hours after her health issues, her body was found unresponsive in the cell.
After her death was announced, attorneys representing the family claimed that the staff did not perform enough checks on the teen.
Reginald Windham, a staffer at the center, allegedly told internal state investigators that he checked on McMillen after he heard coughing on January 11. Investigators wrote that he wanted “to check on her to make sure she had not thrown up or was choking or something like that.”
However, newly released video footage showed Windham staring through a window for 18 seconds, witnessing “her last gasps and dying breaths and final uncontrollable movements and seizure,” according to the lawsuit filed by the family. He then turned around and walked away, attorneys say.
Although a medical examiner ruled that cause of death was due to Inherited Long QT Syndrome, a genetic disorder that can cause an irregular heartbeat, the family has filed a lawsuit to try to figure out exactly what happened to McMillen, who had been healthy for all of her life.
“Nobody wakes up fine every day for 16 years and then goes to a detention center one day and 17 hours later randomly dies,” McMillen’s sister, LaChe Simms, said.
The family hopes that the lawsuit will answer many of their unanswered questions, especially now that the video has raised alarm.
(Photo: Gynnya McMillen via Instagram)