Juvenile death: Guard ordered not to call 911

(WFLX) - The family of an 18-year-old boy, who was found dead at the Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center, is now taking legal action.

Eric Perez died after the family attorney says he was denied medical treatment for several hours.

A fired juvenile detention worker is shedding light on a dark situation, and the family attorney is helping the family seek justice.

An autopsy report is not out yet that shows the cause of death.

The families attorney says this is a case of negligence and blatant disrespect for human life. They say once the investigation is over, they'll know exactly who to go after in their lawsuit -- whether it be the State or Palm Beach County.

A heartbroken mother, just back from burying her son, is working to make sure her son's death is not in vain. "My son didn't have to die likes this," said Maritza Perez.

With her attorney's by her side, Maritza expressed her anger that her son, Eric, was not given any medical attention after suffering from a severe headache. "If a kid complains about a headache, why can't they take care of it? They could've have done something to help him out."

That something would've have been calling 911.

According Floyd Powell, a guard who was on duty that day, tried to do just that. "I was given a direct order, from my supervisor, not to call 911," he said.

Instead, he says, he and another officer were told to watch Perez closely. The guard tells the families attorney that Perez had been vomiting violently for several hour and screaming about a horrible headache. "This was a situation where help was required to be called, and it wasn't. They weren't doing their job," said the family's attorney Richard Schuler.

The guard says Perez fell asleep and was taken to a medical confinement room almost three hours after he got sick. He later died, alone, in that room. "Not only is this unconsciounable and complete disregard for human health, it's a total lack of humanity," continued Schuler.

He says the guards story and what they have been able to discover, shows those working that night did not follow proper procedures when dealing with a sick juvenile inmate. "If there's an individual with serious health situation that is unexplainable," he said. "You must seek help from a medical professional."

Maritza Perez says, she knows, her son is gone, but she is hoping to save another family from the same loss. "I just want justice that's all."

The attorney says the truth could come from survelliance video. He says two videos show the moment Perez was removed from his cell and possibly the moment of his death.

We received a statement Monday night from the Palm Beach County Juvenile Detention Ceneter. They say they will take additional disciplinary measure if more violations are found.

Floyd Powell, along with Terrence D. Davis, were both terminated for failing to call 911 in accordance with their DDJ training.

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