15-year-old girl dies one day after suicide attempt at LCJJC — (Lubbock Avalanche-Journal)

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Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Last modified at 12:47 a.m. on Thursday, October 24, 2002


AVALANCHE-JOURNAL Celeste Contreras, 15, who was hospitalized following a suicide attempt Tuesday at the Lubbock County Juvenile Justice Center, died Wednesday afternoon. Contreras was pronounced dead at University Medical Center about 4:45 p.m. A detention officer discovered the Lubbock girl about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday. She had hanged herself with a sheet tied to a ceiling vent, according to the police report on the incident. Workers initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation until EMS, and firefighters arrived to rush her to UMC. Contreras was on a suicide watch, according to a police report. The detention officer had last checked on her 10 minutes before, saying the girl appeared to be OK, the report said.

A residential therapist told the reporting officer that the girl’s status had been shifted from a mild to a moderate suicidal threat the night before the suicide attempt, the report said. LCJJC director Les Brown said there are three levels of suicidal threat: minimum, moderate and severe. The fact Contreras was on a suicide watch was not unusual. “A suicide watch means that (officers) check on them more frequently,” he said. Officers checked on Contreras every 10 minutes, which Brown called a standard interval. Many detainees in the justice center merit a suicide watch because “about half the kids are on some medication,” he said. Contreras had been prescribed Paxil to treat depression, the police report said. She was at the justice center for a parole violation. She was housed in an individual cell in the short-term detention area of the center. The justice center will conduct an internal investigation into the matter, Brown said. Investigators are expected to complete their report in seven to 10 days, he said. jreynolds@lubbockonline.com 766-8725

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