Police looking into claim linking '82 death, forced fighting

Maine police are looking into a claim that a 15-year-old boy who died three decades ago had been forced to participate in a boxing match at a now-closed school for troubled youth.

The Sun Journal ( reports that Pam Newell was told in 1982 that her brother, Phil, died from a brain aneurism. But she says she recently learned that he had been forced into the Elan School's infamous boxing ring before he died.

Forced fighting was among several controversial therapies employed by the school, which closed in 2011. The practice emerged during Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel's 2002 murder trial in Connecticut.

The boy's death certificate cites a probable brain aneurysm.

A Maine State Police spokesman says detectives begun looking into the death.

Several former school officials said they'd never heard of the incident.


This story has been corrected to show the victim was 15, not 12, when he died.