Ex-Chemawa students recall holding cell experiences
Thursday, March 18, 2004

Three former students of Chemawa Indian School in Oregon say they were placed in holding cells by school staff who never checked up on them.

Monica Burnell was 15 when she said she was placed in a cell for skipping school. Worried she would suffer asthma and panic attacks inside the 7x10 foot room, Burnell, 26, said her pleas for help were ignored by staff.

Patrice Plant was 15 when placed in a cell for being drunk. Now a nurse, she said she didn't receive medical attention and spent the night alone. Her brother also attended the school and had problems with alcohol.

Travis Key said he was placed in a cell almost every Saturday night for drinking. He said he'd usually spend the night before being sent to class or to the dorm.

Mitch DeVany, a former dorm worker and security guard, said staff at the holding cell never checked on students. He said he would end up driving some students to the hospital.

The FBI is investigating Chemawa for the death of Cindy Gilbert Sohappy, 16. She died in a holding cell in December. She had been drinking and her official cause of death was alcohol poisoning.

Get the Story:
Death in Chemawa holding cell unleashes ex-students' memories (The Oregonian 3/17)

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

Relevant Links:
Warm Springs Tribes -

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Autopsy: BIA student died of alcohol poisoning (1/16)
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Terry Cross: U.S. has failed Indian children (12/15)
Warm Springs teen dies at BIA boarding school (12/12)

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