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Inquiries launched after 2 teens were forgotten in courthouse lockup for a weekend

Posted Jun 30, 2014 10:11 AM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward

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Two inquiries have been launched into how two teenagers were forgotten over a weekend while locked in a Georgia courthouse holding cell, reportedly with no food or lights.

The youths, 16 and 17, did have access to a bathroom and water, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, but they did not have any toilet paper or beds, and they were unattended the entire weekend. After they were discovered the morning of Monday, June 23, the article states, they were fed immediately and taken home.

“Thank god they were physically OK, just hungry,” Sheriff Phil Miller told 11alive.com. Miller told the station that his deputies are supposed to check holding cells hourly, and ensure that the cells are empty at the end of the day. According to him, they did not follow procedure.

"I'm as embarrassed as I could possibly be," Miller said. "The buck stops here, the fault lies here."

One teen was at court for a vehicle theft charge, and the other for a probation violation, according to the newspaper. They were supposed to go back to a detention center after the hearings.

Two inquiries have been launched—one by the Douglas County Sheriff's internal affairs division and another by a county commissioner.

Kelly Robinson, the commissioner who launched the investigation, told the newspaper that the sheriff did not notify county commissioners about the incident. Instead, they found out about it through news reports. He said the commission is investigating how the boys were left in the courthouse, and why the sheriff did not alert county commissioners of the alleged incident, which occurred the weekend of June 20.

Sheriff Miller told the Journal Constitution that he didn't feel this was the county commissioners' place. “I have a great deal of respect for all the county commissioners,” he said, “however this is a law enforcement issue and will be handled by the sheriff.”

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