WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - One phone call might have made a difference between life and death. One of the guards fired from a West Palm Beach detention facility says it's a call he never got the chance to make.
His story is part of a widening probe into the sudden death of a teenager; a case sparking legal action now.
The cause of death for 18-year-old Eric Perez is still not known and it could take up to 10 weeks before an autopsy report comes through.
The family's attorney says this is a case of negligence and blatant disrespect for human life.
They say once the investigation is over they'll know exactly who to go after in their lawsuit, whether it's the state or Palm Beach County.
A heartbroken mother, just back from burying her son, is working to make sure his death is not in vain.
"My son didn't have to die like this," says Maritza Perez.
Perez expressed anger that her son was not given any medical attention after suffering from a severe headache and sickness 8 days ago at the Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center, where he died suddenly.
"If a kid complains about a headache why can't they take care of it? They could've done something to help him out," says Perez.
Flloyd Powell was a guard who on duty that day; one of two fired after Perez's death. Four others are on administrative leave. Powell told the family's attorney Perez had been, "vomiting violently for several hours and screaming." Flloyd says he wanted to call 911.
"I was given a direct order from my supervisor not to call 911," he says.
The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice says Flloyd Powell and Terence D. Davis were terminated for failing to call 911 in accordance with their training and clearly posted Department of Juvenile Justice policies, and will take additional disciplinary measures if more violations are found.
One of the family's attorneys, Richard Schuler, says two videotapes have surfaced from cameras placed at the juvenile detention center that could reveal exactly what happened to Perez.
"When he was taken out of his room and told to lie on the floor there's videotape that looks at that area. The second tape actually would have filmed his death. This was a situation where help was required to be called and it wasn't. They weren't doing their job," says Schuler.
Powell says Perez appeared to fall asleep and was later taken to a medical confinement room, almost three hours after he got sick.
He later died, alone, in that room.
Perez says she knows her son is gone but she is hoping to save another family the same loss.
"I just want justice that's all," she says.
The family attorney says he is hoping others who were working that night will come forward with more information.
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