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Autopsy finds minor injuries to Kansas teen who died after being restrained at juvenile facility

Officials have promised a thorough investigation into the death of Cedric "CJ" Lofton, 17, a foster child who died Sunday after he was restrained.

A preliminary autopsy report for the 17-year-old foster child who died Sunday two days after corrections staffers restrained him at a juvenile facility in Kansas revealed only minor injuries, officials said Thursday.

The young man, Cedric "CJ" Lofton, of Wichita, had "some scratches and a bruise" after a struggle with corrections employees at the Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center on Friday, Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said at a news conference with Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett. "It is absolutely a tragic case. I want to assure the public we'll be thoroughly investigating it. ... We won't leave any stone unturned trying to find out exactly what happened to Mr. Lofton."

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation, or KBI, is leading the investigation and will turn its findings over to Bennett.

The cause and manner of death have not been determined, and a toxicology report is pending, Bennett said.

"There were no life-threatening injuries," Bennett said, "which is why toxicology is going to be ... that important."

Easter said Wichita police were called to Lofton's home about 1 a.m. Friday because he was said to be in crisis and "felt that people were out to kill him." His foster parent wanted a mental health evaluation, Easter said.

The KBI has said that Lofton was involved in a struggle with officers and that he was arrested on four counts of battery of a law enforcement officer.

He was handcuffed and placed in a wrap restraint, a device used to prevent people from hurting themselves or others, officials said.

Neither his foster parent nor relatives could be reached for comment Thursday.

Lofton was Black. Black, white and Hispanic staff members were at the juvenile facility, said Lt. Benjamin Blick, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office.

Officials released more details Thursday about the timeline after Lofton's arrest. He was transported to the juvenile facility by Wichita police shortly after 2:30 a.m., and about three hours later, he became unresponsive after fighting with facility employees, officials said Thursday.

Workers at the juvenile facility began CPR at 5:18 a.m., Easter said. A few minutes later, emergency medical personnel arrived and continued CPR.

"At that point, they are able to get his heart started again," Easter said.

Lofton died at a hospital just before 2 a.m. Sunday, officials said.

Officials have said Lofton attacked an employee at the juvenile facility as he was being escorted back to his cell from the restroom.

"Multiple corrections staff engaged in a lengthy physical struggle to get him into the holding cell and place him into handcuffs," the KBI said.

Bennett declined to release more details about the struggle.

Melissa Underwood, a spokesperson for the KBI, said in an email Wednesday that five county corrections employees "were potentially involved" in his restraint. They had been not been placed on administrative leave, she said Wednesday.

Authorities also said Thursday that there is video of Lofton's encounters with Wichita police and corrections employees at the youth facility. Easter said state law dictates that his office can authorize certain parties to view bodycam and dashboard video, including the subject of the video, some family members or a lawyer, but not the public.

Bennett cited state law barring pretrial publicity when he discussed the video. He said he expects the KBI to present a preliminary report late next week. The report will help him determine whether to file charges, decide that none are warranted or continue the investigation, he said.