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Charges Dropped Against 5 In Juvenile School Death

CARROLL COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) -- Charges dropped. The case has been dismissed against five Carroll County school counselors accused in the 2007 death of a teen at a juvenile reform school.

Meghan McCorkell spoke with the victim's family.

The family of Isaiah Simmons say they are heartbroken but they will keep fighting for justice for their son.

The mother of 17-year-old Isaiah Simmons fears she'll never have closure.

"I have no faith in the justice system right now," said Isaiah's mother, Felicia Wilson.

All charges have been dropped against five Bowling Brook Preparatory School counselors who allegedly restrained her son facedown on the ground for three hours until he suffocated. The five were accused of reckless endangerment for waiting 41 minutes to call 911 when the teen became unresponsive.

"Someone needs to be held accountable for what happened to him," Wilson said.

The state's opted not to continue with the case, blaming evidence not admitted by a judge, witnesses who have moved away or been charged with felonies and the inability to call the lead investigator. That investigator, Detective Doug Epperson, is now being investigated for perjury in another case.

Carroll County State's Attorney Jerry Barnes released a statement offering his condolences to the family. He says, "The decision not to proceed with these cases was a gut-wrenching one. We reviewed all possible witness statements, admissible evidence, legal rulings and credibility of witnesses before making this determination."

"It's like continuing to kick the family when the family is down," said Steve Heisler, the family's attorney.

Now, all Wilson has left of her son is his 6-year-old daughter and the hope one day she'll find peace.

"Today in the United States of America, justice is not the same for all," Wilson said.

Weeks after Simmons' death, Bowling Brook was shut down. It has since reopened as Silver Oak Academy under new management.

The Carroll County Sheriff's Office says it is cooperating with an investigation by the Maryland state prosecutor in this case.

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