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Death of Howard County youth being probed

November 9, 2010

MANVEL — Brazoria County authorities and state child welfare officials Monday were investigating the death of a 16-year-old Howard County boy at a residential treatment center that's been under state scrutiny because of allegations of abuse.

Emergency medical technicians were summoned Friday evening to the Daystar Facility in Manvel, about 25 miles south of Houston, where CPR already had been started on the boy. He then was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, the Brazoria County Sheriff's Department said.

In a brief statement issued Monday, the department said a preliminary investigation showed "restraint techniques were used to subdue the child."

The nature of the techniques was not detailed but the preliminary cause of death "is thought to be asphyxiation," the department said. The Harris County Medical Examiner's office will provide a more specific cause later, the sheriff's department said.

Local and regional CPS officials declined comment on the case this morning. An e-mail request for information from state officials had not been been received by the Herald as of press time today.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services assigned a state monitor to Daystar and refused to send foster children there after reports surfaced in June that some developmentally disabled girls at the center in 2008 were provoked into fighting to win after-school snacks. The fight, in April 2008, resulted in the firing of a supervisor and at least one other worker.

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