2 Virginia students commit suicide, four people face child neglect charges

Source: WCYB/Tazewell Co. Sheriff's Office

RICHLANDS, Va. (WVLY/WCYB) -- Two students at a Virginia high school committed suicide months apart. Months later, their family members have been charged with child neglect.

WCYB reported that Justin Dye committed suicide in October 2018, and Kayla Hodges committed suicide in April 2019. Both were students at Richlands High School in Virginia.

On Friday, WCYB reported that the Tazewell County Sheriff's Office arrested Hodges' father, Richard Hodges, and his friend, Suzanne Polkinghorn. Hodges and Polkinghorn were charged with felony child neglect.

Investigators said Polkinghorn pretended to be Kayla's grandmother, but was actually a resident of Florida who didn't know Kayla until she moved to Hodges' home two years before Kayla committed suicide.

WCYB reported that Kayla faced neglect at home from her father and Polkinghorn, which led to her death. Authorities also believe Kayla was the victim of cyberbullying.

In Justin's case, investigators said his mother, Janet Osbourne, and his stepfather, Jason Osbourne, have been charged with felony child neglect.

Investigators said that after Justin's death, his mother and stepfather told people he was bullied into committing suicide. Investigators said there has been no evidence to support that anything that happened to Justin at school led to his suicide. Authorities said they believed neglect at home led to his death as well.

WCYB reported that both teens had treatment plans to cope with previous mental health issues and suicidal thoughts.

Investigators said those charged in Kayla's and Justin's deaths are accused of not making sure the teens took their medications and followed their mental health plans, and in Justin's case, they are accused of not making sure guns were properly secured in the home.

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