HomeTop Stories15-year-old Ellipsis resident charged with murder of staff member

15-year-old Ellipsis resident charged with murder of staff member

A 15-year-old Ellipsis, Iowa resident has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing of a staff member there.

Jovahn Mathis, who lived at the center for troubled youth in Johnston, has been in custody since he allegedly pushed Kathleen Galloway-Menke, 50, of Des Moines, outside the facility, 7085 Northwest Beaver Drive, on May 8. Galloway-Menke hit her head on the concrete and suffered brain damage, her attorney said, and died Tuesday after being taken off life support.

Polk County Attorney Kimberly Graham upgraded the charge of malicious wounding to first-degree murder on Thursday. Mathis remains in a secure juvenile detention center, according to a news release from the Johnston Police Department.

Ellipsis Iowa will be on display on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 in Johnston

Ellipsis Iowa will be on display on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 in Johnston

“The Polk County Attorney’s Office, in collaboration with Juvenile Court Services, will begin the process of evaluating what is in the best interests of the victim’s family, the child and the community,” the news release said.

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Trever Hook, attorney for Galloway-Menke’s family, declined to comment on the allegations but said, “I commend the investigators, they have done a thorough job.”

He told the Register on Wednesday that Galloway-Menke and another staff member followed Mathis at a safe distance after he left campus, per Ellipsis protocol.

“At one point he turned and ran toward the two staff members,” Hook said. “The male staff member was sitting in the front, and he ran past him towards Kathleen and pushed her, causing her to fall abruptly and hit her head on the concrete, causing brain damage.”

Before pushing Galloway-Menke, Hook said, Mathis allegedly threatened to kill her.

According to a police report, four police officers were also slightly injured.

Ellipsis began in 2021 when existing nonprofits Youth Homes of Mid-America (YHMA) and Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS) merged. Every day, it serves more than 750 youth and their families with residential care and treatment, counseling and therapy, behavioral health intervention services, care coordination and family support, according to its website.

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This story will be updated.

Kyle Werner is a reporter for the Register. You can reach him at kwerner@dmreg.com

This article originally appeared in the Des Moines Register: 15-year-old charged with murder of Kathleen Galloway-Menke

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