Photo: Getty
  /  09.19.2022

In Louisville, Kentucky, authorities ruled a 7-year-old boy’s death a homicide after he died of “positional asphyxia” while in foster care.

According to the Courier-Journal, on Friday (Sept. 16), the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office announced that the investigation into Ja’Ceon Terry’s death is underway after revealing his cause of death. Aaron Ellis, a Louisville Metro Police spokesman, released a statement, stating: “Once we have gathered all of the facts related to this death, we will present them to the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to determine how we will proceed.” 

Ja’Ceon died on July 17 at Brooklawn, a treatment center for children with emotional or mental health needs in Louisville. According to his autopsy, the 7-year-old died of “positional or postural asphyxiation,” which occurs when someone’s position prevents them from breathing. His death has led to the firing of two staff members at the center.

A statement released by Seven Counties Services (SCS), which operates the center, said they were “completely devastated by the unspeakable loss of a child in our care” and “he should not have died on our watch.”

SCS added, “As protectors of Kentucky’s most vulnerable children, we are dedicated to making sure it never happens again.”

Ja’Ceon’s mother, Dominique Terry, is demanding answers to the cause of her son’s death. According to LEX18, she said after not seeing her son for over two years, she hoped to regain custody of him before learning of his death. “I just knew that someone did something to my son,” Dominique expressed. “My daddy’s sister called and told us the headline on the Louisville news. So when I went and checked [and] that’s exactly what it was. No phone call, nothing. I hadn’t even got the autopsy like I was supposed to, hadn’t got nothin’.”

George Terry, Dominique’s father, said whoever was involved in the death of his grandson should be arrested and charged with murder. “He’s 7 years old [and] he couldn’t have been too strong for two adults to handle. Instead of putting an arm around his neck and choking him out, there should have been training, and the two that were involved, I think they should be arrested and charged for murder,” George said.

No arrests or charges have been filed against the two Brooklawn employees who were fired.

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