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Family: Teen suicidal after 8 days in isolation in juvenile detention

KOMO

ABERDEEN, Wash. -- A troubled teen was ordered into eight days of isolation, and now the juvenile detention officials who put him there have been suspended from their jobs.

The 15-year-old's family is sharing his story because they want to make sure no other child is forced to endure the same treatment.

Mathew Doe's family members say the teen used to be happy, but now he's depressed and suicidal after spending more than a week in isolation at the Grays Harbor County Juvenile Detention Facility.

Detention administrators put Doe in isolation to curb what they called "disruptive and defiant behavior." During that confinement, which stemmed from a burglary arrest, the teen wrote a letter to his mother, saying he got in trouble and was put on "special programming."

Doe described a windowless, padded room in which he was fed only water and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

"I'm really hungry and thirsty and I'm pretty sure what they are doing is illegal," Doe wrote in the letter.

Two prison officials have since been suspended for ordering Doe into extended solitary confinement, which is a punishment typically administered for only a few hours at a time.

Grays Harbor County Detention director Gerald Murphy lost a month's pay for his actions. Facility director Greg Reynvaan was docked a week for failing to completely read an email outlining the confinement -- and failing to stop it.

"There's not a thing that he could have done to deserve that," said Doe's sister Malorie. "Seeing him in juvi, it hurts."

For now, Doe's sister is committed to making regular visits as his family struggles to get him the mental health assistance they insist he needs, which they say requires medication and regular counseling.

Doe's family continues to look at their options in the case as they await his release date on June 20th

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