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Autopsy results of teen who died at Utah boarding school released

Posted at 5:29 PM, Apr 22, 2023

HURRICANE, Utah — Details from the autopsy of a 17-year-old girl who died at a southern Utah boarding school have been released.

In December, Taylor Goodridge collapsed at Diamond Ranch Academy in Hurricane after she reported feeling sick. She was dead by the time police arrived at the facility.

The autopsy revealed that Goodridge died of peritonitis — an infection of the abdomen — which led to sepsis and organ failure.

The family is still upset with how this tragedy played out.

An attorney for the Goodridge family says the academy's documentation states that she vomited multiple times multiple days before her death.

The family claims that the teen and staff pleaded to get her help, but they were disregarded by the academy.

"She's being ignored to the point that she's angry, then they punish her for being angry," attorney Alan Mortensen said. "The next day, they force her out of bed, they force her to shower, and then they send her up to the medical clinic where she was all day until she died."

Her parents, Dean Goodridge and AmberLynn Wigtion, issued the following statement in reaction to the autopsy results:

“We are devastated to learn that Taylor’s death was entirely preventable had Diamond Ranch Academy cared. We are also dumbfounded that the State of Utah’s Department of Health and Human Services has not held Diamond Ranch Academy accountable for Taylor’s death, settling with Diamond Ranch Academy without any input from our family. Diamond Ranch Academy is now able to continue accepting unknowing students with naive parents, so that the owners of Diamond Ranch Academy can continue to earn profits from the misfortunes of its students and their parents. We intend to continue to pursue all avenues to hold Diamond Ranch Academy accountable for her death to make sure this does not happen to other innocent teens and their families.”

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services sent a statement to FOX 13 News:

"Any time a young person dies unexpectedly, we all grieve for them and their loved ones. We care deeply about ensuring the safety and health of all residents. The Office of Licensing investigation is an administrative investigation to determine compliance with licensing rules. As a result, the program now has a conditional license, which requires strict oversight and frequent site visits to ensure that the program strictly complies with all license requirements... Though we consider the investigation complete, if DHHS receives new information indicating that the program may not have complied with additional rules, a full investigation will be completed to ensure compliance with the processes set by DHHS. We are still determining if the autopsy is considered additional information related to the license."

The DHHS also said the results of their investigation are available online here.

Diamond Ranch Academy has not responded to FOX 13's request for comment on this story.