352. Krause Children’s Center
14-year-old Maria Mendoza died at this treatment facility in 2002. One of the teenagers who were there when the tragedy took place later wrote:
I was there for this incident. Their restraints were not as they said “the least harful possible.” I was thrown on the ground on my chest with my arms underneath me. I told my restrainer(who was also the same person to restrain Maria Mendoza) that I could not breathe and to let me up. He told me that I would just have to calm down then, wouldn’t I? He had restrained her earlier that week and the pressure had been so much that something had gone wrong with her eye. One of them was blood red like it was bleeding. that day, Maria had been mad about not being able to visit her family because she had been “rude” to one of the staff. She got upset and the man taunted her. She went after him, as she did have a little bit of an anger problem and was restrained. They took her to our “quiet room” after awhile to calm down. I was in the bedroom across from the quiet room at the time and I was peeking out of my door, being nosey. The quiet room had an open front, so it was easy to see everything, unless a staff member stepped in front of the door. Maria told the other staff that she was calm but that if the man (not sure if I can use his name or not) came in there she was going to kick his ____. He had been alongside the wall for the majority of her conversation and at that time stepped in front of the door. Maria tried to do exactly as she said. He flipped her onto the floor and she was trying to scream at him, both cussing and saying she couldn’t breathe. He told her if she wanted to be let up she had to calm down. Now tell me how a 14 year old girl with an anger problem is supposed to calm down when the man who upset her in the first place is the one restraining her? Eventually she stopped fighting and they just assumed that she had calmed down. I got a brief glimpse of her when they all got up and she was motionless. Then everyone got frantic but still managed to stand around useless. One of the other staff asked if anyone knew CPR. The man who restrained her was also our designated lifeguard for when we went swimming. I thought lifeguards are supposed to know CPR. No one performed CPR on Maria until the ambulance came. I knew they were going to tell us she was dead after seeing her laying there not moving. They told us the next day though, after taking her away to the nearby hospital. Alot of us were moved after that, to foster homes or group homes and such. The remaining kids moved with the Krause Center to it’s new location at the time which I heard them saying was going to be one of the floors of a mental institution. I remember not being allowed to go on family visits and such because there were so many people outside who were asking questions. Some police came by and took our statements. I gave them mine, but the staff was there and managed to both talk me out of most of what I was saying and to discredit me as I was a foster child and everyone knows that we are unstable, right? I am surprised that the details are so fresh in my mind after so many years but then again, I’m not as that incident scarred me. I could not stand seeing or even hearing anyone being restrained after that, no matter how much I was reassured that they knew what they were doing. I am now 18 and out of the system but I ran across this story and needed the right version to be heard. Thank you for your time.
It doesn’t sound like a fun place to be as teenager.