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Teen's death at Brownwood juvenile detention center prompts investigation

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - A criminal and administrative investigation is underway at the Ron Jackson State Juvenile Correctional Complex in Brownwood after a teenage inmate died.

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department says a 13-year-old boy tied something around his neck on May 19, choking himself until he became unconscious in his cell.

The boy was taken to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, but was later transferred to Midland, where he died May 31, according to TJJD.

"It's affected our staff and children there," said former TJJD spokesman Jim Hurley. "They're with them all the time. It's very personal when something like this happens."

A staff member doing a routine check found the boy unconscious. The facility's personnel do checks every 15 minutes, and the teen was never placed on suicide watch, according to the TJJD.

"The investigation is not over, but there hasn't been any evidence, so far, of any issues with how the staff handled the situation," TJJD Director of External Communications Carolyn Beck said.

Beck said no employees have been terminated or suspended at this time.

The teen, who was from Midland, had been at facility since March 21. The TJJD won't release his name or charges since he's a minor.

The last death at Ron Jackson was in 1999 and it was of a sudden cardiac event, according to Beck.

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There hadn't been a death at a Texas Juvenile Justice Facility since 2009 when a teen committed suicide at the Crockett State School, according to TJJD. The facility, located in Crockett, was shut down in 2011.

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