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Georgia youth detention death: 1 juvenile killed, officer charged with murder after 'fight game'

WJCL 8/17/2022
thomas lee hicks © Ware County Sheriff's Office thomas lee hicks

A Georgia juvenile detention officer has been arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder following the death of a young inmate.

Thomas Lee Hicks served as a juvenile correctional officer in the Waycross Regional Youth Detention Center, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

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The GBI determined that Hicks allowed juveniles to participate in a fight game in his presence on August 9. This resulted in the death of a juvenile.

Hicks was arrested Tuesday evening and booked into the Ware County Jail. On top of his murder charge, the GBI said he was also charged with two counts of cruelty to children and a violation of oath of office.

Loyce Tucker © Ana Guerrero Loyce Tucker


WJCL obtained a statement from the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice regarding this incident.

Commissioner Tyrone Oliver said, "The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) is deeply saddened by the passing of one of our youths. We send our heartfelt condolence to the youth's family, friends, and loved ones, and they remain in our thoughts and prayers. Upon learning this afternoon of the findings of the GBI investigation, I immediately terminated Mr. Thomas Hicks from employment with the Department. The actions of Mr. Hicks are deplorable and do not represent the core values of this agency.

DJJ takes the responsibility of operating safe facilities for youth and staff seriously. Should there be any evidence of staff or youth misconduct or criminal activity, we will take all appropriate measures."

While the GBI would not release the victim's name, WJCL tracked down his family. They identified him as 17-year-old Loyce Tucker.

They told WJCL while they are glad to see a murder charge, they still feel there is more to the story and add that they're worried for the juveniles still at the correctional facility.

WJCL reached out to both the GBI and DJJ for a response to these claims. The DJJ said they have no knowledge about any further accusations. They then referred us back to the GBI. The GBI opted not to comment. The simply said, "The GBI investigation remains active and ongoing."

This investigation is still active and ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Waycross RYDC at (404) 291-0208 or the GBI Region 4 Douglas Office at (912) 389-4103. Anonymous tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477), online at, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.

Once the investigation is complete, the case file will be given to the Waycross Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review.

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