Woman dies after 'critical incident' at juvenile center
TECUMSEH — An 18-year-old woman died earlier this month after a "critical incident" at the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center, the state Office of Juvenile Affairs confirmed.
The woman, a juvenile offender who was being housed at the Tecumseh facility, was taken to a hospital after the Jan. 1 incident. The woman's family notified officials on Jan. 8 that the woman had died, said Paula Christiansen, a spokeswoman for the department.
Department officials declined to release the woman's name or elaborate on the nature of the incident. Both the department and the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth are reviewing the incident, officials said.
The facility houses youthful offenders ages 14-19. Christiansen said the incident is the first death of a juvenile offender in more than a decade. The most recent death was 15-20 years ago, when an offender died from a heart condition, she said.
In an emailed statement, Steven Buck, executive director of the juvenile affairs office, said the entire department is saddened by the woman's death.
"We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to her grieving family," Buck said. "Organizationally, we have taken immediate steps to provide trauma assistance to both residents and staff involved in the emergent care of this young woman. OJA staff work heroically every day to help young people find successful trajectories, and I appreciate their professionalism and commitment to our mission."
Annette Jacobi, director of the state's youth commission, said the commission will review the death to see whether it arose from any systemic problem or mistake on the part of a staff member.
“This is a tragic incident, and we’re really, really sorry for the loss of life," Jacobi said.