Sunday, January 8, 2012

Geoffrey Alan Vorhies - 1992

It was January 1992 when 13 year old Geoffrey Alan Vorhies realized that he had no options left in the environment he had been left in. No therapy to help him with his problems. There was only one way left in his mind: To end it all.

Little would it be known that his death would be the first of 3 cases so far where teenagers had hanged themselves in custody of this detention center of death.

So much potential was lost. A life spanning only 13 years is hardly a life at all.

A boy in his situation should have gotten help - not punishment. Sadly enough we are now standing here 20 years later and very little have changed.

It is not good enough. Nothing was learned from his death and a lesson in proper handling of boys in his situation should be the least we owe him.

May he rest in peace.



  1. Gitte, My name is Ric Vorhies I am Geoff's dad. How do you know about the death of Geoff?

  2. I work for a human rights organization in Sweden. We have servers working 24/7 digging up news about all deaths in residential settings world wide, so minors which have no options but residential treatment can be secured so they do not die while they are being helped away from their families and friends.

    This blog is about deaths in residential treatment in the United States. There are similar blogs about deaths in residential treatment in other countries.

    I have to say that I am sorry for your loss. I understand that sometime there is no other options but residential treatment which must be the properly hardest decision any parent can make. But once the decision is made the question shouldn't be a question about whether the child will be able to survive the treatment but rather a question about how dignified the treatment can be conducted so the child will be able to return home living with his family again.

    We are sorry if we offended you by writing about this case considering the time which have passed since he lost his life but it is our experience that politicians don't care about any subject costing money unless we publish the cost of neglect and missing legislation.

  3. I was not offended. I was amazed that after such a long time anyone would take notice, because at the time no one seemed to notice or care and I'm not sure that anyone takes the time to notice or care now. Thanks for caring. If I can help in any way just ask.

  4. Thank you for this. Yes, Geoff needed help not punishment. He was a beautiful, very intelligent, sensitive and caring child, full of promise. Such a cruel punishment to be sent away from his family who he loved and who loved him. He was only twelve. This was not our choice and I fought it in court but the judge said he was bound by the number of points written on a piece of paper. And still all these years later our juvenile "justice" system does not understand the difference between children and adults and is still only interested in punishment. So tragic the continued loss of lives at Echo Glen even after Geoff's death. From Geoff's mother.


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