WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The investigation into the death of 18-year-old Eric Perez at a state-run juvenile lockup is widening as one South Florida lawmaker says the West Palm Beach Juvenile Detention Center has been neglected for years.
The reasons behind the death of Perez are not clear.
But we have new insights from Delray Beach State Senator Maria Sachs, who once chaired the board for the juvenile detention lockup now under fire.
"It really has been a forgotten area, in so many instances, there is not enough funding," said Sachs.
Now there are new questions and criticism.
The Perez family has questions about what happened to their loved one, who was reportedly suffering from several medical ailments like shortness of breath and bleeding on the brain, right before he died Sunday morning.
The family said Thursday that they're convinced someone neglected his care.
"For him to be laying in a coffin today is unacceptable," said his aunt, Dorianne Pellot.
Of the six detention center employees who were put on leave this week - all responsible for the care of Perez - two were fired Friday.
The state won't give their names or say why they were fired.
Sachs says it's important not to read into that move until the facts come out in what she hopes will be a deep investigation.
"It's warranted, and not only Palm Beach's juvenile detention center, but all through the state, we need to take a look at all of them," said Sachs. "It's time for legislative oversight into the detention centers. It really has been a forgotten area. I think it's time that we need to look at it and properly fund them."
The Perez family says they have hired a lawyer to help in their push for answers.
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