Family responds to news that handcuffed woman shot herself through mouth during traffic-stop


CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A 19-year-old woman whose hands were cuffed behind her back when she committed suicide during a traffic stop in Chesapeake died of a gunshot wound through the mouth, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Sarah Wilson committed suicide on July 25, 2018, during a traffic stop near the intersection of Berkley Avenue and Wilson Road, according to the Chesapeake Police Department.

She was the passenger of a 1996 Lexus driven by her boyfriend, 27-year-old Holden Medlin. The couple was under the surveillance of two CPD officers — one assigned to uniform patrol, and the other to vice narcotics — when they were stopped around 4:24 p.m.

During the stop, the officers approached Wilson and Medlin separately. While one officer handcuffed Wilson with her hands behind her back, the other tried to detain Medlin, CPD Officer Leo Kosinski told 10 On Your Side in August.

Medlin resisted arrest, becoming combative and trying to flee the scene. That’s when the officer who handcuffed Wilson left her outside of the car’s passenger side and went to assist in Medlin’s arrest, which involved using a Taser to subdue him, according to police.

Kosinski said in August that Wilson was handcuffed with her arms behind her back when she got the gun out of the Lexus, “contorted” her body and shot herself in the head.  

On Thursday, the OCME of Tidewater confirmed to 10 On Your Side that Wilson did commit suicide, and that she died from an “intra-oral gunshot wound.”

The CPD launched an internal investigation into Wilson’s suicide in July. Kosinski confirmed that the department has since concluded that investigation, but declined to comment on its outcome.

Wilson’s mother, Dawn, has hired attorney Jennifer Langley to represent her. In a statement issued to 10 On Your Side, Langley said the family has been in contact with Chesapeake officials.

According to Langley, in a letter written in January, Chesapeake City Attorney Jacob P. Stroman told Wilson’s family that the city would reach out to them when the CPD’s internal investigation was complete. He estimated he would have a response for the family prepared by March 8, 2019.

“To date, the City has not been forthcoming with answers to our multiple inquiries and request for information and the circumstances of Sarah Wilson’s death remain a mystery,” Langley wrote. “After enduring months of silence from the City, Sarah’s family learned, through local and national media reports that the city’s internal investigation has been completed and that certain information concerning Sarah’s death has been made public, including the medical examiner’s report. At this point, Sarah’s family looks forward to receiving direct answers from the City of Chesapeake regarding Sarah’s death while in police custody, including whether the City intends to accept its responsibility for the tragic events that occurred that day.”

Medlin was arrested in connection to the traffic stop after he swallowed a “golf-ball” sized-bag with an unknown substance in it. Police searched the car and found 11 oxycodone, a syringe, drug paraphernalia, a rifle, and several boxes of ammunition, according to court documents.

He was charged with possession of oxycodone, possession of suboxone, possention of paraphernalia, possession of a firearm with a schedule I or II drug, fleeing from a law enforcement officer, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Those charges were certified to a grand jury on Tuesday. 

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