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3 School Employees To Be Charged With Manslaughter After 2018 Death Of Special Needs Student

EL DORADO HILLS (CBS13) – Nearly a year after the death of a special-needs student, the district attorney's office is announcing charges against three employees of an El Dorado Hills private school.

Max Benson was a 13-year-old boy with autism who died in Nov. 2018. He was reportedly restrained by staff at the school after becoming violent. At some point while being restrained, he became unresponsive.

Deputies said a teacher performed CPR, but Benson died two days later at the UC Davis Medical Center.

Tuesday, the El Dorado County District Attorney announced they will be filing charges against three employees at the school. Executive Director and Site Administrator Cindy Keller, Principal Staranne Meyers and special education teacher Kimberly Wohlwend are facing a charge felony involuntary manslaughter each for Benson's death.

Further, Guiding Hands School, Inc. is also facing a count of felony involuntary manslaughter.

The district attorney's office said the charge is based on Nov. 28, 2018, prone restraint of Benson by Wohlend, which resulted in his death.

RELATED: Teen With Autism Dies Two Days After Being Restrained At El Dorado Hills School

Guiding Hands School, Inc. owned and operated the school. The California Department of Education later suspended the school's certification and it was closed.

The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office said the three women were booked and released from jail on Nov. 10.

All the defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in court at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Family is hosting a candlelight memorial for Max on Sunday at 2 p.m. on the steps of the DA's office.

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