Ware County

Family friend of teen who died after ‘fight game’ at Waycross detention center heartbroken

WAYCROSS, Ga. — A Waycross juvenile detention guard is now in custody after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said he was allowing a prisoner fight game inside of the facility that left one teen dead.

Action News Jax’s Nick Gibson spoke with a family friend who knew that teen.


That family friend, Meghan Swann, said she’s heartbroken over this. She said when someone’s child is sent to a detention facility like this, the parents shouldn’t have to worry about them never coming home again.

The GBI has arrested 30-year-old Thomas Hicks and charged him with second-degree murder, two counts of child cruelty, and violation of oath of office after officials say he was allowing a prisoner fighting game to take place.

According to GBI, on Aug. 9, a juvenile was found unresponsive and later died while being held in custody at the Waycross Regional Youth Detention Center.

RELATED: GBI arrests corrections officer after juvenile inmate death at Waycross RYDC

Swann confirmed that the juvenile who died is 17-year-old Loyce Tucker. She said it took family and friends a long time to get answers about what happened after they received a call that Loyce was taken to Savannah Memorial Hospital

“At first, we heard it might be an aneurysm, we heard it might be a couple of things. Savannah Memorial confirmed it was cardiac arrest,” Swann said.

She said after pushing the issue, that’s when they learned the GBI was investigating.

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She said once they found out what happened, everyone was stunned.

“There was a game of knockout. That was supposedly done between these boys and the guard allowed it to happen. Between him and the other inmates, which led to his cardiac arrest,” Swann said.

GBI’s investigation found that Hicks allowed juveniles at the facility to take part in a “fight game in his presence.”

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Swann said Tucker once lived with her, and said no family member or parent should have to worry about this happening to their children.

“You shouldn’t have to worry about a child going somewhere to turn their life around and come out with no life,” Swann said.

Swann said that Tucker was serving a 5-year sentence and there were talks about him being released early.

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She also has a message for parents and family members who have juveniles incarcerated.

“Listen to your kids, that is my best advice,” she said.

Swann said the guards at this facility have to get some better training.

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