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State, local officials continue to investigate death of Wichita teen at juvenile facility

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Kylie Cameron
/
KMUW
Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett speaks at a press conference about the investigation into the death of 17-year-old Cedric Lofton.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and Kansas Bureau of Investigations continue to investigate the death of a teen who died while in custody earlier this week.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and Kansas Bureau of Investigations continue to investigate the death of a teen who died while in custody earlier this week.

Initial autopsy results for 17-year-old Cedric Lofton indicate that Lofton did not have any injuries that would have caused his death, according to Sheriff Jeff Easter. Toxicology results are still pending.

“The preliminary autopsy shows some scratches and a bruise,” Easter said at new conference Thursday. “There’s no life-threatening injuries that has been found as of yet.”

Lofton was taken to the county juvenile intake facility after his foster parents called 911 early Friday morning, saying he was having a mental health crisis.

When Wichita Police arrived, police said they had to use a WRAP restraint system to transport him to the facility. The restraint was taken off at the facility.

Lofton was let out of a holding cell to use the restroom. Authorities said when Lofton was being taken back to his cell, a “lengthy physical struggle” occurred. Staff at the facility then restrained Lofton with handcuffs, and he became unresponsive.

The teen was then taken to the hospital, where he died two days later.

Authorities declined to give more details on the struggle at the intake facility.

In response to some in the public asking for video to be released in the teen’s death, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett said that it currently does not fall under Kansas Open Records law. Authorities said there is body camera video from the officers who initially arrested Lofton and from the juvenile center.

“But only after the cops have made the determination, that I’ve made the determination, then the judge makes the determination that there’s enough, then it gets in the public arena,” Bennett said. “Until that time, investigative information is not part of the public record.”

Officials reiterated during the news conference that the investigation – and receiving toxicology results – could take time.

“We ask that the citizens, and a lot of the folks that are posting stuff on social media, to remain patient while the investigation progresses,” Easter said.