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Uintah County sheriff probes case of girl forgotten in holding cell

Published August 6, 2013 7:37 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Uintah County Sheriff's Office is investigating why a teenage girl was apparently forgotten and left alone for about five hours in a holding cell after the courthouse had closed for the day.

A maintenance employee realized the 16-year-old girl had been left there after hearing her yell at about 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 1, and notified authorities, Chief Deputy John Laursen on Tuesday said in a press release.

Earlier in the day, the teen had been ordered by the 8th District Juvenile Court to the Split Mountain Youth Detention Center for incarceration.

The Sheriff's Office is investigating how the teen was left alone for so long in the holding cell. The cell did have a restroom and running water.

"This incident is unacceptable!" Uintah County Sheriff Jeff Merrell said in the statement.

The teen, who was uninjured, was ultimately taken to the detention center.

The sheriff's investigation was to include a review of bailiffs' records and security camera footage to determine responsibility and inform possible revisions in courthouse detention procedures.

Juvenile justice officials told The Tribune that Utah sheriff's offices are typically responsible for transporting youth to lock up.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims