Juvenile detention officer charged with murder in Waycross RYDC death investigation

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Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 11:10 AM EDT
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WAYCROSS, Ga. (WALB) - A juvenile detention officer is facing murder and other charges following the death of a juvenile at Waycross Regional Youth Detention Center, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI).

Thomas Lee Hicks, 30, was charged with one count of second degree murder, two counts of second degree cruelty to children and violation of oath of office.

The charges stem from Hicks allowing “juveniles to participate in a fight game in his presence,” the GBI said.

The GBI said a juvenile was in the presence of a RYDC staff member and other juveniles at the facilty when he lost consciousness on Aug. 9.

The juvenile later died at Memorial Health Hospital in Savannah, according to the GBI.

The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice issued the following statement to WALB New 10:

“The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is deeply saddened by the passing of one of our youths. We send our heartfelt condolence to the youth’s family, friends and loved ones, and they remain in our thoughts and prayers. Upon learning of the findings of the GBI investigation, (the department) immediately terminated Mr. Thomas Hicks from employment with the department. The actions of Mr. Hicks are deplorable and do not represent the core values of this agency.

DJJ takes the responsibility of operating safe facilities for youth and staff seriously. Should there be any evidence of staff or youth misconduct or criminal activity, we will take all appropriate measures.”

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