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The death of  Gynnya McMillen, 16, in a Kentucky detention center earlier this year sparked anger among civil rights activists as details emerged about her passing. But officials say that the teen, who was discovered in her cell on Jan. 11, died of an irregular heartbeat and not from an altercation with the facility’s staff, according to  BuzzFeed.

McMillen was arrested by Shelbyville Police on Jan. 10 after being involved in a fight with her mother and was sent to the Lincoln Juvenile Treatment and Detention Center in Elizabethtown. What has been consistently reported was that McMillen was restrained in a so-called “martial hold,” according to documents after the teen allegedly refused to comply to a pat down and search.

But after reviewing logs and surveillance video, state officials have stepped away from accusations of foul play, the report says:

McMillen was put into a restraint at Lincoln Village after she refused a routine pat down at the center. Throughout the night, however, staff members failed to complete the required 15-minute checks on McMillen as she slept. She was discovered dead the next morning.

But the state’s review of McMillen’s autopsy report, which included roughly 60 hours of video surveillance and interviews with staff and police witnesses, found “no trauma or injury or asphyxiation contributed to her death,” said John Tilley, the state’s secretary of the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet.

“This child sadly died in her sleep from an irregular heartbeat,” he added.

Kentucky State Medical Examiner Donna Stewart, who conducted the autopsy, said tests performed by the Mayo Clinic found McMillen suffered from a rare genetic condition called inherited long QT syndrome, which causes sudden rapid heartbeats. The condition does not always show symptoms.

Stewart added that she did not find any trauma or bruises on McMillen’s body, but found cuts and bruises and bite marks. The bite marks occurred before her encounter with the detention center’s staff, writes the news outlet.

Tilley, however, found rampant instances of employee misconduct at the facility, which led to the firing of Reginald Windham after an extensive Buzzfeed report.

Kentucky State Police say they’ve conducted an independent investigation of McMillen’s death and will present their findings to the Hardin County Grand Jury at a later time.



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