Center Reacts After Juvenile's Behavior Towards Worker

By Adria Goins – bio|email

RED RIVER PARISH, La. (KSLA) – Two teens that escaped from a Red River Parish youth center are in custody Wednesday and facing attempted first degree murder charges in a brutal attack on a youth services worker. Police say Gladys Zumwalt, 69, was kidnapped and beaten before being dumped, along with her car, at a Shreveport park.

The incident was the first of its kind at the Ware Youth Center near Coushatta. It can house nearly 100 boys and girls under the age of 18 that have gotten into trouble with the law or with substance abuse and often times these juveniles are serious offenders.

"They're anywhere from shoplifting to murder," said Kenneth Lofton, director at Ware Youth Center. Lofton has been the director at the 125 acre facility along U.S. 71 since it opened 17 years ago.

Tuesday afternoon, he experienced a first at the center.

"We've never had an incident like this."

Zumwalt has been working at this center for the past 12 years. According to the facility guidelines, Zumwalt has more than 1,000 hours of training as a juvenile service worker, but even the most prepared employee can be surprised by the unexpected. Lofton and members of the Ware Youth Center will spend the next few days evaluating what went wrong and what they can change to ensure nothing like Tuesday's crime happens again.

"We will look at our policies, our procedures, our practice and make some adjustments where we need to make them."

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