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Teen Dies After Collapsing at Augusta YDC Basketball Game


No foul play is suspected in the death of a 17-year-old inmate at the Augusta Youth Development Center.

Ozell Burch, 17, collapsed Sunday on the court at the YDC, off Mike Padgett Highway in Augusta, according to Coroner Mark Bowen. He was rushed by paramedics to Wellstar MCG, where he was pronounced dead at 12:41 p.m. Sunday.  An autopsy is scheduled to determine a cause of death.

Burch is originally from Phenix City, Ala., the coroner said. It’s unclear why Burch was at the facility.

The Department of Juvenile Justice reportedly handed the death investigation over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. YDC officials released a statement, sending their thoughts and prayers the teen’s family as well as the center’s staff.

Online, the Burch’s grandmother remembered him with a heartfelt Facebook post, saying her heart was heavy after Ozell’s death.

“Everybody knows that I’m very close to my grandkids,” Sheila Mims wrote Sunday. “We were each other’s ride and die. Today God called him home and I will miss him something terrible. RIP OZELL BURCH Grandma love you and always will no matter what. I wish I had one more day with you.”

Augusta’s YDC is part of a state DJJ system of campuses with a mission to “effect justice as well as redirect and shape the young lives in the agency’s care so they can take responsibility for their delinquent conduct as well as become contributing members of society,” according to a state website.

DJJ provides the youthful inmates with medical and mental health treatment, as well as specialized programs designed to “equip them with the social, intellectual, and emotional tools they will need as adults,” the website says.

Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh
Greg Rickabaugh is an award-winning crime reporter in the Augusta-Aiken area with experience writing for The Augusta Chronicle, The Augusta Press and serving as publisher of The Jail Report. Rickabaugh is a 1994 graduate of the University of South Carolina and has appeared on several crime documentaries on the Investigation Discovery channel.
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