Two Lincoln Hills students facing charges following death of staff member

By Jalen Maki

Tomahawk Leader Editor

IRMA – Two students at Lincoln Hills School in Irma are facing charges following the death of a staff member.

According to a release from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, on Monday, June 24, at approximately 7:47 p.m., the Lincoln County Dispatch Center received a 911 call from Lincoln Hills staff reporting that a student had assaulted two staff members.

Law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel responded to the scene.

A release from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) said a student assaulted a female staff member, 25, in the residence hall when the youth returned from outdoor recreation.

DOC said the youth shortly thereafter encountered and assaulted a second staff member, later identified by DOC as Corey Proulx, 49, causing Proulx to hit his head on the concrete. Proulx was flown from the scene due to critical injuries, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The female staff member, who had not been identified by the Sheriff’s Office as of press time on Friday, June 28, was treated for her injuries and released. She is expected to make a full recovery, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Proulx died from his injuries on Tuesday, June 25.

The student, identified by the Sheriff’s Office as Javarius Hurd, 16, did not suffer any injuries requiring medical treatment.


Hurd has been charged with one felony count of second degree reckless homicide; one count of felony murder-battery, special circumstances; and two felony counts of battery by prisoners, according to court records.

Hurd appeared in Lincoln County court on Wednesday, June 26, where a $100,000.00 cash bond was set. He was being held in the Lincoln County Jail as of Wednesday, June 26.

Hurd is scheduled to participate in a telephone scheduling conference on Wednesday, July 3.

On Thursday, June 27, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office announced that Rian Nyblom, 17, had been arrested in connection to the incident. Nyblom is charged with one count of felony murder-battery, special circumstances, party to a crime; and two felony counts of battery by prisoners-party to a crime, according to court records.

Nyblom. Photos courtesy of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

Nyblom was incarcerated in the same unit as Hurd at the time of the altercation with Proulx, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office said on Thursday, June 27, that Nyblom was being held in the Lincoln County Jail on a $20,000.00 cash bond.

Nyblom is scheduled to participate in a telephone scheduling conference on Thursday, July 11.

A joint investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), the Wisconsin State Patrol and the Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office is ongoing, the Sheriff’s Office said.

“It is with tremendous sadness and regret that I announce the loss of a dedicated professional, colleague and friend in the line of duty,” DOC Secretary Jared Hoy said in a release. “A career in corrections, with its dual mission to protect the public and guide individuals toward rehabilitation, can be demanding and requires so many sacrifices for our staff and our families, and Corey made the ultimate sacrifice. Our DOC family is mourning Corey’s loss, and we are keeping all of his family members and friends in our thoughts.”

“Proulx’s fiancée and daughter shared with Secretary Hoy that they would like everyone to know that Corey was an amazing partner, father, son and human being,” DOC stated.

“Corey was a dedicated and compassionate member of our team, always striving to make a positive impact on the lives of the young individuals we serve,” Lincoln Hills Superintendent Klint Trevino wrote in a message to school staff. “His commitment to our mission was unwavering, and he will be deeply missed by all of us.”

DOC said Hoy was at Lincoln Hills School on Wednesday, June 26. Peer Supporters from across the agency were deployed to help staff process the event.

Proulx had returned to serve as a youth counselor at Lincoln Hills School last spring after briefly leaving the school two years prior, according to DOC.

Irma facility slated to be repurposed

The incident comes with the repurposing of the Irma facility on the horizon.

For years, the State of Wisconsin has sought to shutter the embattled Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake Schools amid allegations of abuse brought by inmates and staff and investigations into civil rights violations and the use of excessive force, as well as a number of lawsuits that cost the state millions of dollars in legal settlements.

State legislators in 2018 voted to close the youth detention center and replace it with six regional state- and county-run facilities. Governor Tony Evers later signed into law a July 1, 2021 deadline to close the facility, but the state ultimately did not meet the deadline after Legislative Republicans rejected plans to fund the state-run facilities.

In April 2022, Evers signed a bill allocating nearly $42 million to the construction of a facility designated to replace Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake. The bill received bipartisan support in the State Legislature.

DOC, in Aug. 2022, selected a site in Milwaukee for the new facility. A City of Milwaukee Common Council committee unanimously voted to approve the site in Jan. 2023.

At the time of the committee’s approval of the site, the planned 32-bed facility was expected to be operational by 2026.

Under the legislation signed by Evers in April 2022, the Irma youth detention center will be repurposed as an adult correctional institution.

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