August 20, 1998
Teen Assigned to Juvenile Boot Camp:
Found in Apparent Suicide
BARTOW - A teenager sent to the Polk County
Juvenile Boot Camp three weeks ago was found hanging in his cell
after an apparent suicide, authorities said.
Chad Andrew Franza, 16, of Avon Park, was found
hanging from boot laces that were tied to an air conditioning vent
in his cell.
A guard made the discovery Monday night about
45 minutes after lights were turned out in the wing where Franza and
16 others were confined in individual cells.
"During his time here he had no history of
discipline problems and had given no indications of any suicide
intent," said Capt. Danny Drew, the boot camp commander.
But Franza's family said Tuesday that the teen
was depressed and the signs might have gone unnoticed or unchecked
by the boot camp.
Franza was sent to the camp after a series of
arrests. The first was in October 1997, when he brought a pistol to
school and later threatened a witness in the case, according to
He was arrested again in December after he was
caught with a pistol. In February, he was charged with trespassing
on school property.
The sheriff's office, the state Department of
Juvenile Justice and the state attorney's office are investigating
the death, which Drew said is the first suicide at the camp in its
four year history.
Associated Press, August 20, 1998