Videotape captured teen's death at boarding school
Monday, March 1, 2004

A student at Chemawa Indian School in Oregon died after being placed in a holding cell that was under video surveillance, The Oregonian reports.

The paper reviewed documents and conducted interviews to piece together the final hours of Cindy Gilbert Sohappy, 16, a member of the Warm Springs Tribes. Documents show she was placed in the cell at 8:20 p.m. on December 6 for being intoxicated.

Less than an hour later, the paper said, Sohappy began to flail around on the floor. But no one apparently checked to see how she was doing even though school procedures require checkups every 15 minutes. According to the paper, the entries for Sohappy read "sleeping."

Three hours later, at 11:20 p.m., a school worker noticed she wasn't breathing. But she couldn't be revived. She died of alcohol poisoning, an autopsy concluded.

The FBI has seized the videotape as part of its investigation. Three staff members are on paid leave pending the results.

Get the Story:
Monitoring poor in Chemawa death (The Oregonian 2/29)

Oregonian Special Series:
Warm Springs - A Place Where Children Die

Relevant Links:
Warm Springs Tribes -

Related Stories:
IHS holding back information on boarding school death (02/09)
Drinking said rampant at BIA boarding school in Ore. (01/22)
Autopsy: BIA student died of alcohol poisoning (1/16)
Oregonian: Alcohol, drugs and abuse destroy family (01/07)
Terry Cross: U.S. has failed Indian children (12/15)
Warm Springs teen dies at BIA boarding school (12/12)

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