14-Year-Old Teen With Autism Dies Mysteriously In Treatment Facility

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joseph winters autistic kid dies

A photo of Joseph Winters taken several years ago.


When a 14-year-old boy with autism checked into the Rose Rock treatment facility on Friday, his family had no idea they not would not see him alive again, Channel News 4 reports.

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The full details about how Joseph Winters died are not known. His mother dropped him off at the facility so that he could work with autism specialists. The family was told that he may have needed to be restrained by staffers at some point on Friday. During the time the teen was restrained, he stopped breathing. Joseph’s brother, Darryl, says that the staff mishandled the situation.

“He’s an autistic kid,” he said. “How can you do that to a kid? Period. He’s a 14-year-old kid. And you’re slamming him and strain him like that. And he’s grasping for air and yall just sit there and say oh he’s faking it. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

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The Medical Examiner’s office has not determined a cause of death. He was 6-foot-2 and weighed 300 pounds. Rock Rose is a private facility but the DHS Licensing Unit conducted an investigation of the facility, supervision, staffing and training. No non-compliance issues under those categories were found.

One reason why the family enrolled Joseph in the facility is because it is equipped at cameras at every turn. Though, no camera was near to capture the final moments of the teen’s life. “They’re not compliant, when you don’t have video of him dying,” Winters said.

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.”

Those condolences do little to ease Darry’s pain. “It’s mess up and I don’t even know what to feel to have my brother, my little brother gone,” he said.

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