In Death At King County Juvenile Detention
February 14, 2006
By KOMO Staff & News Services
- King County Executive Ron Sims has called for a public inquest
into the death of a 14-year-old boy who collapsed in his cell at the
county Juvenile Detention center the day after Christmas.
Johnny Lim, who was being held for investigation of car theft,
died early Dec. 26. After complaining of an excruciating headache,
he vomited and fell to the floor.
The county's medical examiner ruled the death a "spontaneous
brain-stem hemorrhage" attributable to natural causes.
But Lim's family - and an attorney representing staff at the
center - say there are many unanswered questions about the boy's
"Johnny's family and friends are quite upset and have reason to
believe that something was abnormal or out-of-the-ordinary with
regard to his death - a young man in good health who suddenly dies
while in custody," said Moni Law, an attorney representing the Lims.
Workers at the center have complained since 2004 about faulty and
unpredictable intercom systems, but Mark Bolton, deputy director of
the county Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention, has said the
intercom in Lim's cell was working.
"We're looking forward to a full airing on this," said Jared
Karstetter, who represents juvenile-detention officers. "The whole
purpose of an inquest is to ascertain the facts and circumstances
surrounding a death like this."
Lim's was the first in-custody death in the facility's 14-year
history. County protocols call for formal public inquiries whenever
an incarcerated person dies. The case has been assigned to Superior
Court Judge Darrell Phillipson. No date has been set.