Featured image via Shutterstock and does not show Max Benson. Photo for illustrative purposes only.
In 2018, 13-year-old Max Benson, who is diagnosed with autism, was killed after staff at his school restrained him for more than an hour. Now, three employees from the now-defunct Guiding Hands private school in El Dorado Hills, California, as well as the school itself, have been indicted by a grand jury on charges related to the boy’s death.
Per PEOPLE, a spokeswoman for the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that the Guiding Hands School, Inc. was indicted July 15th on a single count of involuntary manslaughter.
Three people who were working at the school at the time Max died have also been indicted on involuntary manslaughter charges.
The outlet states that the three defendants — Cindy Keller, the El Dorado Hills-based school’s onetime executive director; Starrane Meyers, its former principal; and Kimberly Wohlwend, a special education teacher — are alleged to have restrained Max after he’d become violent.
According to investigators, Max’s face was pressed against the floor for an hour as he was being restrained on November 28th, 2018. At some point, Max allegedly became unresponsive, after which a teacher revived him through CPR and rushed him to UC Davis Medical Center.
But it was too late. Max died two days later.
Three years ago, the school and all three women were criminally charged with a felony count of involuntary manslaughter.
All three of the individual staff members have entered not guilty pleas.
Guiding Hands School, Inc., which specialized in providing educational services for students with exceptional needs, had its certification suspected by the California Department of Education a week after Max’s death. Later, after being in operation for more than 25 years, the school shut down.
Today, a new school has been opened at the same location.
All of the defendants are scheduled to appear in court on September 2nd for a pre-trial hearing.