Why Was 16-Year-Old Gynnya McMillen Found Dead in a Kentucky Juvenile Center?

Illustration for article titled Why Was 16-Year-Old Gynnya McMillen Found Dead in a Kentucky Juvenile Center?

Police are struggling to explain why a 16 year-old girl was found dead in a Kentucky juvenile detention center ten days ago. Gynnya McMillen was found unresponsive on January 11th after spending the night alone in her cell—in a case that sounds eerily similar to that of 28-year-old Sandra Bland.


McMillen was left alone in her cell without a roommate while in the custody of Lincoln Village Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Elizabethtown, Ky. The information provided by police and the initial autopsy are only leading to more questions. Via CBS News:

Kentucky state trooper Jeff Gregory, a spokesperson for the trooper post called to investigate McMillen’s death, said in an interview Tuesday that investigators do not believe McMillen was the victim of a homicide or suicide.

“On face value, our detectives didn’t suspect that foul play was involved,” Gregory said. “They interviewed anybody that had any contact with her.”

A coroner said she had no visual bruising and it is unlikely she had a heart condition.

Of course, the idea of a 16 year-old without a heart condition simply dropping dead one night is incredibly suspicious. There is no information on how often the detention staff monitored her or why she was alone. Somehow, in a facility designed to heavily supervise its occupants, there are no eyewitnesses.

A full autopsy with pathology results will be available in a few weeks. In the meantime, Gynnya’s sister has set up a Facebook page asking for justice for the teenager and demanding that the family’s unanswered questions be addressed.

Contact the author at kara.brown@jezebel.com .

Images via Justice for Gynnya McMillen


fondue process

probably STDS (Sudden Teen Death Syndrome).

it’s like SIDS, except instead of infants it only affects minority kids with low-income backgrounds who’ve been neglected by social services and the justice system that are supposed to protect them.