UPDATE: Parents, guardians charged with neglect in suicide deaths of Richlands High School students
Officials and students at Richlands High School have been coping with the death of two students who committed suicide within the last year. Charges were filed by the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office charging the parents and guardians of Richlands sophomores Justin Dye and Kayla Hodges for their roles in their deaths with all four cited for felony child neglect.
In the Dye case, his mother Janet Osbourne and stepfather Jason Osbourne are charged. Hodges’ father Richard Hodges and his girlfriend Suzanne Polkinghorn are accused of not helping her with her care plan. The sheriff noted that Polkinghorn had been previously identified as Hodges’ grandmother.
Sheriff Brian Hieatt told us in both instances the adults are accused of not following safety plans and administering medicines prescribed by doctors to help the two teenagers who either had suicidal thoughts or had already tried to kill themselves previously.
“The parents taking him off the medication. The parents leaving a loaded weapon accessible to him knowing he was suicidal,” Hieatt said.
The sheriff said that Kayla had endured a hard home life and was dealing with cyberbullies online at the time of her death.
“She prided herself on talking other people out of suicide yet, saying at the same time, she deserved suicide,” the sheriff said.