GEORGIA (WRBL) – A correctional officer at a youth correctional facility in Georgia is being charged in the death of a minor after allegedly allowing the youth to “participate in a fight game in his presence.”

According to a news release from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Thomas Lee Hicks, age 30, of Waycross, has been charged with one count of murder in the 2nd degree, two counts of cruelty to children in the 2nd degree, and one count of violation of oath of office. 

GBI officials said Hicks was employed as correctional office Waycross Regional Youth Detention Center at the time of the youth’s death.

The GBI investigation into Hicks began on Aug. 9, 2022, at the request of the detention center, after a juvenile at the center was reported unresponsive.

According officials with the GBI, the juvenile was in the presence of a staff member and other juveniles at the facility when he lost consciousness. EMS was contacted and the juvenile was transported to Memorial Health Hospital in Savannah for treatment. The juvenile later died.  

In the GBI new release, officials said investigation into the incident revealed “Hicks allowed juveniles to participate in a fight game in his presence,” with the juvenile being injured while engaging in the activity and later dying as a result.

Hicks was arrested on Aug. 16, 2022, and booked into the Ware County Jail.

The GBI’s investigation is active and ongoing according to officials. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Waycross RYDC at (404) 291-0208 or the GBI Region 4 Douglas Office at (912) 389-4103.

Anonymous tips can also be submitted online or by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477). You can also download the GBI’s See Something, Send Something mobile app.