Two employees at a suburban residential treatment facility for troubled youth were charged Saturday in the death of a 16-year-old resident at the center.
James Davis, 37, of Round Lake, is charged with one felony count of involuntary manslaughter and one felony count of obstruction of justice. Davis' bail was set at $1,000,000.
Justin Serak, 27, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, is charged with one felony count of obstruction of justice, and bail was set at $50,000.
Staff members at the Allendale Association facility in north suburban Lake Villa told police that on March 30, 16-year-old Shaquan Allen, of Chicago, was having "behavioral issues" and Serak and Davis attempted to restrain him. As Shaquan reportedly struggled with the two men, Serak took him by the legs and Davis grabbed the teen's upper body and neck.
2 Charged in Teen's Death at Suburban Facility
Investigators say Davis then put Shaquan in a chokehold during the struggle, causing him to lose consciousness.
Witnesses told police that a staff nurse tried to resuscitate Shaquan before calling 911 at approximately 10 p.m., which authorities say may have been 15 minutes after he lost consciousness.
He was taken to Condell Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:10 p.m.
Shaquan was a resident at the Allendale Association, a facility that offers "care, education, treatment and advocacy for troubled children, youth and their families," according to the private, non-profit organization's website.
Shaquan's mother Willie Mae Allen told NBC 5 that her son had been a resident there for three years and was due to be released next week.
"I sent my baby there to get help, because I thought the streets was a more dangerous place. I never in my wildest dreams imagined him dying up in there," Allen lamented.
Allen said she is grateful for the police, but she wants the facility to be closed down and her son's death to be called murder.
"Involuntary manslaughter... This is dark, but I think it should be first-degree murder where they get life," she told NBC 5 through tears. "They took my baby's life. He's not gonna be here no more."
Officials also confirmed that Serak and Davis fabricated their initial account of the event during their interviews with investigators.
"That fabrication was that the victim slipped on water as the three were struggling," said Det. Christopher Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff's office. "It was later determined that the water that was located on the ground was caused by the defendants, in this case, pouring water on the victim to attempt to wake him after he had become unconscious."
The Lake County Coroner’s office conducted an autopsy Friday morning, and have yet to determine an exact cause of death pending further investigation. But authorities said initial results indicate the boy died from asphyxiation.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force investigators are investigating, and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), has been notified, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Department.