Autopsy report shows teenager was ill days before death at Utah treatment center, attorney says

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HURRICANE, WASHINGTON COUNTY — An autopsy report on Taylor Goodridge, a teenage girl who stayed at a residential treatment facility for troubled teens in Hurricane, shows she had been ill for 12 days before her death, prosecutors said.

Taylor, who was 17, died on Dec. 2022. 20 died of peritonitis, an infection of the abdominal tissue, according to a Utah medical examiner’s autopsy report released Friday by attorneys for Deans’ parents.

“We are devastated to learn that Taylor’s death could have been completely prevented if Diamond Ranch Academy had taken care,” the parents said in a joint statement.

Taylor’s father, Dean Goodridge, sued Diamond Ranch Academy in federal court, alleging that staff knew she was ill and refused to help her, leading to her death.

“Taylor’s stomach was very upset, so others could see it. Taylor was in excruciating pain, but DRA staff told her to drink water and take an aspirin,” the lawsuit states. The complaint alleges that Taylor begged staff for medical help and once collapsed in her own vomit, but was told she was “faking it” and had to “suck it up.”

Subsequently, Diamond Ranch Academy filed a petition seeking dismissal in a civil case. The Academy’s request states that the case should be dismissed based on jurisdictional issues and non-compliance in following the anticipatory bail procedure.

A statement from Goodridge’s attorney, Alan Mortensen, said the peritonitis had spread to all of Taylor’s vital organs, causing organ failure.

“The first symptoms of peritonitis were vomiting and a swollen abdomen, both of which Taylor experienced a few days before her death. It was easily treated with antibiotics and she made a full recovery,” the report said.

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While the academy claims the situation is being misrepresented, Mortensen said academy records show Taylor vomited more than a week before her death. She said staff begged administration to take Taylor to the hospital, and when Taylor pleaded for help, she received punishment from the school.

“Taylor’s complaints and pleas from (Diamond Ranch Academy) staff were completely ignored, and the DRA unilaterally canceled weekly phone calls to her parents in the weeks before her death. Taylor died at Diamond Ranch Academy without ever seeing a doctor or being taken to a hospital,” Mortensen said.

On Dec. 9, 2022, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services determined that Taylor had back pain, difficulty breathing and difficulty sleeping due to pain, Mortensen’s statement said. In the 12 days before her death, case documents show Taylor vomited at least 14 times, seven of which occurred in an 11-hour period, Mortensen said.

Dec. 22, 2022 The Utah Department of Health and Human Services placed Diamond Ranch Academy on probation.

“We are appalled that the State of Utah Department of Health and Human Services has not held Diamond Ranch Academy accountable for Taylor’s death, and we settled on Diamond Ranch Academy without any input from our family,” Taylor’s parents said in their joint statement.

“Diamond Ranch Academy now continues to accept unwitting students with innocent parents so that the owners of Diamond Ranch Academy can continue to profit from the misfortunes of its students and their parents. We want to pursue all avenues of treatment for Diamond. Hold the Ranch Academy accountable for her death and prevent this from happening to other innocent teenagers and their families.” Take care,” the parent’s statement continues.

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Cassidy Wixom covers Utah County communities and is the evening news reporter for KSL.com.

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