The family of 17-year-old Alegend Jones is demanding answers after the teenager died while staying at a group home for youths in Memphis, Tennessee.
Attorney Ben Crump said the teen was living at the home when witnesses said she was "brutally assaulted, battered, and choked." Alegend reportedly died at Methodist Germantown Hospital on Nov. 17.
"The details surrounding Algend's death are both shocking and heartbreaking," Crump said. "No family should have to endure the pain of losing a child under horrific circumstances."
Crump claims two male counselors took Alegend to the Shelby County Health Department for a medical exam after the teenagers said she needed to be seen. During that visit, Crump said the counselors told Alegend to undress. When she refused, Crump claims they "body slammed" her.
Youth Villages disputes Crump's assertions, saying Alegend was escorted by two female staffers and never asked to remove clothing in front of male staff.
Alegend was reportedly taken back to Youth Villages, where Crump said she was assaulted by a group of counselors. However, Youth Villages says "there were no abusive or otherwise inappropriate interactions directed toward the child." It claims the teen experienced a "medical emergency."
"The child was taken to the hospital and later passed away," Youth Villages said.
Crump said his office is demanding a "thorough and impartial investigation into the events that led to Alegend's death, including the public release of any and all footage from the Youth Villages."
Youth Villages says it has been working with authorities in their investigation and has turned over surveillance camera footage.
"There are no words that can capture the sadness and heartache we all feel at the loss of a child," said Patrick Lawler, CEO of Youth Villages. "As we continue to process this tragedy, we remain committed to our core values and mission."
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