4 facing child neglect charges after Richlands High School student suicides


TAZEWELL COUNTY, Va. (WJHL)- Authorities in Tazewell County, Virginia have announced the arrest of four people after two separate and lengthy investigations into two high school student suicides.

In the media release from the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, it read, “We are bringing these charges together today because these cases are very similar, and occurred only six months apart.”

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The first case deputies investigated involved Justin Dye, 15, who took his own life with a handgun.

Authorities said at the age of 15, Dye had already attempted to commit suicide multiple times. After he was released from a psychiatric hospital, his mother and stepfather were given a safety plan to follow.

Investigators said, “Our investigation found that the safety plan was not followed and he had full access to guns, one of which he used to shoot himself… The day of his death we found his full medication bottles thrown around the kitchen, never having been used. Mr. and Mrs. Osbourne went against the doctors concerns and stopped making him take the medications. .. We also found out that Justin was rarely even home to be monitored or watched by the Osbourne’s”

Both Jason Osbourne and Janet Osbourne, the stepfather and mother of Justin Dye, were charged with Felony Child Neglect.

The second investigation surrounded the suicide of another Richlands High School student, Kayla Hodges, 16.

Authorities said Hodges was also admitted to a psychiatric hospital for her attempt to kill herself and had been given medications to help her depression and ordered to see counselors.

In the news release Friday officials said, “Through our investigation we found that her father, Richard Hodges, told the doctor that he did not want her to continue taking the important medications she needed, and he called and canceled her out of the counseling she was taking for her suicidal thoughts and attempts.”

Authorities also discovered that a woman named Suzanne Polkinghorn was portraying herself on many school and medical documents, as well as social media, as Kayla’s grandmother and Mr. Hodge’s mother.

Authorities said, “The truth is that she was a resident of Florida who did not even know Kayla until she moved into Hodges home just two years before Kayla’s death and has had a sexual relationship with the man she refers to as her son.”

Both Richard Hodges and Suzanne Polkinghorn were also charged with Felony Child Neglect.

The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office noted that “Of the many common threads in these two cases one that is very disturbing is that both of these children played video games for hours upon hours almost every single day, it is certain they were sleep-deprived and not acting with their full mental capacities. Another common thread is the lack of parental control over electronic devices specifically passwords to email accounts, gaming accounts, cell phones, computers and gaming stations. We can’t encourage parents enough to ensure you control what your child does, sees and share in all electronic devices.”

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