Youth charged with manslaughter after ‘fight game’ in Waycross detention center

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

A former correctional officer faces a second-degree murder charge in a boy’s death

A GBI investigation into a boy’s death during a “fight game” at a South Georgia juvenile detention facility has led to a new charge against a youth who participated in the game.

The youth, whose name is not being released, was charged as a juvenile with involuntary manslaughter Thursday, the GBI said in a news release.

The charge comes more than a week after a boy died at the Waycross Regional Youth Detention Center on Aug. 9, the state agency said. A former juvenile correctional officer at the facility, 30-year-old Thomas Lee Hicks, was arrested Tuesday on multiple counts, including second-degree murder.

ExploreGBI: Youth detention officer who allowed deadly ‘fight game’ charged with murder

According to the GBI, Hicks allowed youths at the Waycross detention center to participate in a fighting game while he was present. His charges also include two counts of second-degree cruelty to children and one count of violating his oath of office.

Georgia’s Department of Juvenile Justice announced Wednesday morning that Hicks had been fired from his role as a correctional officer.

The GBI became involved when a boy at the facility was reported to be unresponsive the morning of Aug. 9, the state agency said. Emergency medical personnel were called to the Waycross facility and the boy was transported to Memorial Health Hospital in Savannah, where he later died.

The boy who died has not been identified and the GBI has not shared further information on the nature of his injuries.

The investigation remains ongoing, the GBI said. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Waycross RYDC at 404-291-0208 or the GBI Region 4 Douglas Office at 912-389-4103. Anonymous tips can also be submitted online at the GBI’s website, by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477) or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.