Questions loom after the death of 16-year-old Gynnya McMillen, who was found unresponsive at the Lincoln Valley Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabeth, Ky. on Jan. 11, CBS News reports. According to Hardin County Coroner William Lee, Jr., no physical evidence of her cause of death was clear when she was found. She was also reported as likely having no heart ailments. Authorities have released very few details on the case.
In response to the lack of information, someone identified as McMillen’s sister has begun a Facebook page to demand answers. “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,” one post reads. According to the page, the family has also begun a GoFundMe campaign to “not only bring Gynnya’s case to justice but to also raise awareness” to the treatments inmates endure from the justice systems all around the world.
According to the New York Daily News, an anonymous former employee of the Lincoln Valley Regional Juvenile Detention Center stated that McMillen entered the facility less that 24 hours before she was found dead. Though it is not known where McMillen was found, the source noted that if she was found in a holding cell, “something would be seriously wrong.” Cameras are in each holding cell, officers are required to check on the children every 15 minutes, and children are not usually held in the cells overnight.
Information regarding McMillen’s reason for being in the detention center has not been publicized. Karen Whaley, a counselor at Louisville family support agency Home of the Innocents told CBS News that McMillen was a “quiet, beautiful person.”
“Gynnya stayed to herself a whole lot,” Whaley said. “She didn’t bother anyone, she didn’t disturb anyone and didn’t kick up any fuss.”
Stacy Floden, a spokeswoman for Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice, states that the juvenile to die in a facility such as Lincoln Valley was in 1999.