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Death of 16-year-old Cornelius Fredericks ruled a homicide

Cornelius Fredericks died on May 1 after he was restrained by staff at Lakeside Academy for 12 minutes, state health officials learned.
Credit: Courtesy: Marko Law
An undated photo of Cornelius Fredericks

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Kalamazoo County Medical Examiner, Ted Brown, M.D., has ruled that the suffocation death of Cornelius Fredericks was a homicide. 

Specifically, the medical examiner ruled that the “homicide” was as a result of “restraint asphyxia”, caused by multiple people suffocating Cornelius. 

The 16-year-old who lived at a Kalamazoo youth home died last month after staff members put their weight on the teenager during a 12-minute restraint, Michigan officials say. Nearly 30 hours later Fredericks died in the hospital after suffering cardiac arrest. 

His death has prompted an investigation from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, a $100-million lawsuit and calls for criminal charges.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services wrapped up its investigation last week and recommended Lakeside's license be revoked. The state also then moved to end its contact with Lakeside.

Geoffrey Fieger, who is representing Fredericks' family, says he is calling upon the Kalamazoo prosecutor to bring murder charges against those who suffocated the teen.

Fieger also stated that the attorney for Sequel Youth Services of Michigan, Daniel Ferris, has refused to give the family the video of the killing saying “It is time for the perpetrators to come clean.” 

An update from the Kalamazoo County prosecuting attorney is expected around 5 p.m.

(This is a developing story. Check back for updates.)

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