Cedric Lofton's Death Under Investigation by Kansas Agency After No Criminal Charges Filed

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly ordered the state's Department for Children and Families (DCF) to investigate how a private foster care agency handled the case of Cedric Lofton, who died in custody at a juvenile intake center in September.

Lofton, 17, died after he was handcuffed and placed face down for 30 minutes for allegedly assaulting a staff member at the Sedgwick County Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center in Wichita, Kansas, the Associated Press reported.

"This situation is tragic, and we must find a way to ensure something like this never happens again," Kelly said in a written statement quoted by the state's KSNW.

Kelly ordered the DCF investigation to "ensure policy and procedures were properly followed, and to determine if these processes need to be changed or refined," according to the statement.

The governor's comments come after Sedwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said he wouldn't file criminal charges in the death of Lofton. Last Tuesday, Bennett said the state's "stand-you-ground" law prevents him from bringing charges against the staff members because they were protecting themselves, KSNW reported.

The series of events started after Lofton's foster father expressed concerns about Lofton's mental health to his caseworker, who indicated that Lofton needed to get a mental health evaluation. The foster father drove Lofton to get checked out, but Lofton walked away upon arrival at the facility, according to Bennett's report.

When Lofton returned home several hours later, his caseworker advised his foster father to call the police and not to let Lofton into the house. Police arrived on the scene shortly after 1 a.m. and spent nearly an hour at the home trying to convince Lofton to go to a nearby hospital to get mental health treatment. However, Lofton refused and told police he was concerned about people trying to kill him, the report said.

According to Bennett's report, Lofton's mental health declined after attending his grandmother's funeral. His family was concerned and told Lofton's foster father he "was having either a mental breakdown and/or he was having an onset of schizophrenia."

Officers arrested Lofton and took him to the juvenile facility instead of taking him to a hospital to be assessed. After his arrival, he was handcuffed and placed face down after allegedly assaulting a staff member, the report added.

According to The Wichita Eagle, video footage showed that the staff physically restrained Lofton in his cell for 45 minutes. At some point, officers noticed he was no longer breathing and started CPR.

The coroner determined Lofton died as a result of "complications of cardiopulmonary arrest sustained after a physical struggle while restrained in the prone position." His death was ruled a homicide, according to Bennett's report.

The autopsy report further explained Lofton died because of the lengthy time he spent in a face-down position, which impacted his breathing. The position caused his oxygen supply to be compromised, which lead to his heart stopping and caused an anoxic brain injury and his kidneys to shut down, according to the report.

Kansas Gov. Orders Investigation into Teenagers Death
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly ordered the state's Department for Children and Families to review the case of 17-year-old Cedric Lofton, who died after being restrained in juvenile custody. Above, Kelly is pictured. Mark Reinstein/Corbis/Getty Images