KBI identifies teen who died in custody of Sedgwick County juvenile services

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 5:22 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021: The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) on Tuesday, Sept. 28, provided further information into its investigation into the death of a 17-year-old who died after being in law enforcement custody.

“By statute, the KBI investigates all in-custody deaths which occur in Kansas jails and prisons, unless the inmate who dies is being regularly attended by a physician, or the death is ruled natural by autopsy,” the agency said.

At about 10:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 24, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office asked the KBI to investigate the teen’s death.

The KBI said 17-year-old Cedric “CJ” Lofton, of Wichita, became unresponsive after “a lengthy physical struggle” with Juvenile Intake Assessment Center staff members that had been trying to get him back into a holding cell and placed in handcuffs.

“Once Lofton was under control, corrections staff were monitoring him and noticed he became unresponsive,” the KBI said. “Life-saving measures were initiated. EMS responded and transported him to Wesley Medical Center where additional medical interventions were attempted.”

The agency said Lofton was pronounced dead a little before 2 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 26.

“An autopsy was conducted on Sept. 27 (Monday). Lofton’s cause of death is pending further investigation and toxicology results,” the KBI said.

From preliminary information, the KBI said Wichita police responded to a disturbance call at about 1 a.m. Friday from a home in the 1200 block of South Fox Run. When they arrived, the KBI said the officers found Lofton outside the house and that he “appeared paranoid and was behaving erratically.”

“Preliminary information indicates that at approximately 1 a.m. on Sept. 24, officers from the Wichita Police Department responded to a disturbance call from a resident at 1221 S. Fox Run in Wichita. Upon arrival they discovered 17-year-old Cedric “CJ” Lofton, of Wichita, outside the house. Lofton appeared paranoid and was behaving erratically.

“After officers spent an extended period of time trying to convince him to voluntarily seek mental health treatment, they attempted to take Lofton into custody. Lofton resisted by assaulting the officers. After a physical struggle, he was arrested for four counts of battery of a law enforcement officer,” the KBI said.

Officers took the teen to the Juvenile Intake Assessment Center in a WRAP restraint system, described as “a device used to prevent subjects from hurting themselves or others.”

“Once at the facility the WRAP device and handcuffs were removed from Lofton, and he was placed in a single holding cell,” the KBI said.

The teen was later allowed out of the holding cell to use the restroom and when a JIAC staff member attempted to take him back to the holding cell, the KBI said he assaulted the staff member. This led to the struggle with “multiple corrections staff,” the KBI said.

Monday, Sept. 27, 2021: The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is leading the investigation into a teen’s death following his arrest Friday, Sept. 24 at the Juvenile Intake Assessment Center in Wichita. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office is assisting in the investigation, which is in its early stages.

The sheriff’s office said Wichita police booked the 17-year-old into the juvenile center for three counts of battery of a law enforcement officer. While in custody, the sheriff’s office said the teen assaulted staff at the facility and had to be restrained. After restraining him, the sheriff’s office said the teen became unresponsive and was taken to a local hospital where he died Sunday, Sept. 26.

An autopsy will be performed to help determine if the teen’s death was the result of a medical emergency or possibly due to the restraint.

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