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Autopsy Report: Boy Died From "Basket Hold"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 14, 2005

INGRAM, TEXAS-Autopsy results have confirmed that a 12-year-old boy died at a residential treatment center of suffocation resulting from a "basket hold" restraint.

The Kerryville Daily Times and the Associated Press reported that Christening "Mikie" Garcia died on December 4 after being restrained with his arms across his chest and his hands held behind him by a worker at Star Ranch, a residential treatment center where he had been housed since August.

Travis County Medical Examiner Dr. Roberto Bayardo has ruled Garcia's cause of death as the result of "suffocation during physical restraint."

Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer said the boy had been placed in "time out" after refusing to obey staff orders, but that he started banging his own head against a concrete sidewalk, "so they had to restrain him."

The "experienced" staff member, whose name was not disclosed, then held Garcia until he stopped breathing. Attempts to resuscitate the boy were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Hierholzer said the results of the investigation would be presented to a Kerr County grand jury once it is completed.

Rand Southard, director of Star Ranch, said that he believes the staff member followed the appropriate guidelines in performing the state-approved restraint after Garcia's behavior escalated and all other options were exhausted. The employee has been put on leave until the investigation is completed.

The state placed Garcia at the facility, which houses youths with learning disabilities and emotional difficulties, after his parents gave up parental rights to him and his two siblings during a family crisis.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services is conducting its own investigation into Star Ranch, which as been investigated five times in the past two years on allegations of abuse and neglect, including the inappropriate use of restraints and lack of supervision.

"Autopsy rules Star Ranch youth suffocated" (Kerrville Daily Times)


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