A 14 year old autistic boy dies within hours of arriving at Rose Rock Academy, a psychiatric residential treatment facility in Oklahoma City.
Rose Rock Academy is a Sequel Youth and Family Services psychiatric facility that serves children with Autism.
This is why Joseph Winters was there.
Teen Boy with Autism Dies at Treatment Facility
Darryl Winters is trying to make sense of his brother’s untimely death.
“It’s messed up and I don’t even know what to feel to have my brother, my little brother gone,” Winters said. “He was strangled and basically he suffocated.”
The police report states Joseph was 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds.
The family was told he may have needed to be restrained by staffers and at some point he stopped breathing.
The Medical Examiner’s office hasn’t determined a cause of death.
Rose Rock is a private facility but the DHS Licensing Unit conducted an investigation of the facility, supervision, staffing and training.
They did not find any non-compliance issues under any of those categories.
“They’re not compliant, when you don’t have video of him dying,” Winters said.
One reason the family enrolled Joseph in the program is because this facility is equipped with cameras at every turn.
According to the family, they didn’t help in this situation.
Winters said, “All the other cameras are working but that one camera that shows how my brother passed on is not working. Why?”
Rose Rock released this statement:
“We are all shocked by the unfortunate incident that occurred this past Thursday evening. We have reported the incident to all the appropriate authorities, and are following all appropriate procedures while undergoing thorough investigations by all appropriate authorities. Rose Rock and Sequel staff members acted appropriately and are very saddened by this unfortunate incident and extend our condolences to the family of this young man.
Rose Rock is a Facility of Sequel Youth Services
Having six Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTF's) in the United States, Sequel offers two types of programs; Neurodevelopmental and Seriously Emotionally Disturbed.
Rose Rock's facility operates under the Neurodevelopmental program:
Sequel's neurodevelopmental programs (Bernalillo, Norris, Rose Rock, and 1/2 of Northern Illinois Academy) serve residents diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or with a non-specified developmental delay. Additional services available for these individuals include Occupational, Speech, and Physical therapies; 1:1 care and the services of certified Applied Behavioral Analysts. The programs are accredited by The Joint Commission and serve a diverse cross-section of exceptional children with a range of complex needs including, but not limited to
- Complex Autism
- Pervasive Developmental Disorder
- Prader-Willi Syndrome
- Cerebral Palsy
- Developmental Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairments
- Physical Impairments
- Significant Psychiatric Impairment with Developmental Disabilities
- Health Impairments
The Troubled Teen Industry Connection
Troubled Teen Industry opponents spotlight cases of psychological abuse, neglect, physical abuse, and the unfortunate deaths of kids who have been placed in (generically and subjectively termed) "Residential Treatment Facilities," "Boot Camps," "Camps for Troubled Teens," or any other evocative term that may conjure up images of a kid getting 'fixed.'
After having been deemed by their parents or thought of as 'disobedient,' 'rebellious' or 'behaviorally unmanageable' sometimes it's a well-intentioned counselor, doctor, OR a financially-motivated paraprofessional receiving kickbacks who might make such a suggestion as to where to send these allegedly 'troubled' kids. Even television shows are profiting off the troubled teen industry.
But Joseph was not 'troubled' in this sense. He was not an average functioning teenager. Joseph had autism; He was there for his autism. He was not (supposed to be in) a subset of the 'troubled teen' category. According to Sequel's website, Rose Rock is not an arm of their Seriously Emotionally Disturbed program:
Sequel's Severely Emotionally Disturbed (SED) programs (Kingston, Riverside and 1/2 of Northern Illinois Academy) are heavily staffed with medical and clinical teams who address both the mental and behavioral issues presented. Individual Treatment Plans are created under the supervision of psychiatrists. The programs are accredited by The Joint Commission and offer treatment for young people with a range of complex needs including, but not limited to:
- Mood Disorders
- Disruptive Behavior Disorders
- Adjustment Disorders
- Dually diagnosed: Mental Health and Substance Abuse
- Self-harmful behaviors
- Destructive behaviors
The connection of Joseph's death to the troubled teen industry should be clear: Methods of psychologically questionable to unsafe and harmful - sometimes quite abusive - practices happen; Sometimes the kids are physically harmed. Sometimes the kids are psychologically murdered, resulting in PTSD or suicide. Sometimes the kid 'just dies' while in their care and no one seems to know why or what happened.
Despite ANY 'curriculum' or 'program' - troubled teen or autism assistance - every child [human being] deserves their most basic and fundamental rights preserved DESPITE the methodology of any program; Nutritious food, clean water, sufficient and clean clothing, shelter, sleep, psychological and physical safety, dignity, respect, a certain amount of space to move freely, sunshine, non-infliction of torture and, naturally, the ability to live.
And if the facility cannot HELP them, then at least do not physically harm or damage them, psychologically retard or torture them, or you know, kill them.
According to the news report, Joseph's family chose Rose Rock Academy because they liked that Rose Rock had cameras. But Joseph's brother, Darryl, wants to know why all the other cameras were working except for the one that - had it been working - could have offered evidence as to what Joseph's last few minutes of life looked like; Namely, the specifics of how Joseph died.
How and why did 14 year old autistic Joseph Winters die within only a few hours of arriving for his first day?
"Sequel's [Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities] offer a structured residential environment that is safe for our residents because of the extensive direct-care and clinical staff support available to them."
I wonder if Rose Rock Academy will stand by that.
© 2013, Digits on Newsvine. Please feel free to link, share, or use anything for the furthering of your own edification or for the furthering of anyone else's. Below are links of personal interest that are related to this article's tertiary purpose; The first purpose is to bring awareness that Joseph Winters died at a facility that was supposed to help him with autism. The secondary purpose is a call to action; That his family wants and not only deserves answers, but that the public is served in knowing of this incident. The third purpose is, that because my opinion is that his death bears the suspicion that surrounds facilities typified as being for troubled teens, to showcase that questionable to blatantly harmful methodologies - that the public may be unaware of - is why kids are being harmed.
- The Cult that Kept Me Imprisoned - My story.
- Tortured Kids Surviving Straight, Inc. - Residential 'war on drugs' facility won the acclaim of Nancy Reagan & Princess Diana.
- American Companies Torturing Teens for Profit [Reddit] - From Dr. Phil to Mitt Romney, see how these places gain credibility.
- Josh Shipp and "Teen Trouble" on Lifetime - Not a doctor or a counselor but he seems to play one on Lifetime.
- Judge Rotenberg Shocks Children into Compliance - If you think you can handle it, watch the graphic video.