State investigation launched into 17-year-old’s death in Kansas juvenile facility custody


SEDGWICK COUNTY (KSNW) – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) is investigating the death of a 17-year-old who died after being in law enforcement custody.

According to the KBI, by statute, they investigate 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 KBI was asked by the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the death on Friday, Sept. 24, at 10:30 a.m.

Preliminary information shared by the KBI 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, Wichita police say 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.

Lofton was transported to the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center in a wrap restraint system, a device used to prevent subjects from hurting themselves or others, according to the KBI. Once at the facility, the wrap device and handcuffs were removed from Lofton, and he was placed in a single holding cell.

The KBI states that Lofton was later allowed out of the holding cell to use the restroom. When a JIAC staff member attempted to escort him back to the holding cell, Lofton assaulted the staff member. Multiple corrections staff engaged in a lengthy physical struggle to get him into the holding cell and place him into handcuffs. Once Lofton was under control, corrections staff were monitoring him and noticed he became unresponsive.

The KBI said that staff tried life-saving measures on Lofton. EMS responded and transported him to Wesley Medical Center where additional medical interventions were attempted. On Sept. 26, at approximately 1:55 a.m., Lofton was pronounced dead.

An autopsy was conducted on Sept. 27. Lofton’s cause of death is pending further investigation and toxicology results.

This investigation is ongoing. The KBI said it won’t release any other information at this time.

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