Taylor Goodridge died in agony at the Diamond Ranch Academy in Utah while staff at the "troubled teen" camp allegedly told her to 'suck it up' as the easily-treated intestinal infection she endured there killed her. There will be no charges for those responsible, say local prosecutors.
Her autopsy confirmed the 17-year-old died of a severe internal infection, which is usually treatable. However, a Utah state investigation found her plight was downplayed or ignored right up to her final hours, making the Washington County District Attorney's decision all the more frustrating for Taylor's family.
According to an investigation done by the Utah Department of Health and Human Services, Taylor was sick for at least two weeks and the school did not take her to a physician or to the emergency room for further assessment.
"They destroyed every organ she had," Goodridge said.
Strong allegations from her father as the internal infection is treatable. Usually it requires rapid treatment with antibiotics.
"My daughter died from the inside," Goodridge said.
For the last six months, Hurricane Police have been investigating the academy. Their investigation into the teen's death was completed and later turned over to the Washington County District Attorney's Office – who declined to file any criminal charges against the school on Friday, saying there was not enough evidence to do so.
"How do they not have enough evidence, all these employees came forward, all these students came forward," Goodridge said.
A characteristic of the "troubled teen camp" business is that they establish themselves in rural areas and inveigle themselves deeply with local law enforcement, prosecutors and leaders. It's the activity they spend more time and money on than anything else, because close, well-documented association with local authority is key to long-term survival. If they can't get it, they move the camp somewhere they can. So it's no surprise at all that the locals here will do nothing even under national scrutiny, even with everyone screaming at them. They're not protecting the camp, they're protecting themselves. In rural Utah, you have to deal with perpetrators and law enforcement's sectarian associations too.