Police Claim Handcuffed Teen Shot and Killed Herself

Last July 19-year-old Sarah Wilson and her boyfriend were pulled over in a traffic stop. Police say they had been monitoring the pair, who they suspected were dealing drugs.

After pulling the car over, two police officers approached from either side. Wilson was taken out of the passenger side and placed in handcuffs behind her back. Her boyfriend, Holden Medlin, was reportedly combative and drew the attention of both officers in order to subdue him.

At this point, the officers allege, Wilson — who was handcuffed behind her back — managed to retrieve a firearm from the vehicle, “contorted” herself and shot herself dead. A medical examiner later confirmed that Wilson was still handcuffed, but managed to inflict an “intra-oral” gunshot on herself.

In other words, Wilson managed to shoot herself in the mouth — despite having both hands restrained behind her back.

A spokesperson for the Chesapeake Police Department in Virginia publicly stated this account, adding that although one of the arresting officers was wearing a body-mounted camera during the traffic stop, it was allegedly knocked to the ground during the struggle with Medlin. In the process, the camera stopped recording, failing to document Wilson’s death — though it was turned back on after the incident.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Dawn Wilson, Sarah Wilson’s mother, stated. How did a young woman with her arms restrained behind her back not only retrieve a firearm, but also aim and fire it through the roof of her own mouth? Why was the only body-mounted camera conveniently deactivated at the most crucial moment?

Even if we are to assume this accounting is somehow accurate, which is quite a stretch, it speaks to an incredible degree of negligence. “Why is there no accountability for the situation? These procedures are in place so people are safe, the people on the street, the police, and the people in custody,” Wilson’s mother said.

In the months since Wilson’s death, the Chesapeake Police Department claims it has conducted and concluded an internal investigation. Though law enforcement officers told Wilson’s family that they would likely be granted access to the results by March 8, they have yet to follow through on this promise.

So far, there’s no indication that any responsibility or repercussions were assigned to the officers involved as a result of the investigation.

Given the all too common instances of police officers facing no charges in blatantly wrongful death cases, it hardly comes as a surprise that the Chesapeake Police Department believes it can spin such an incredible tale and walk away unscathed.

Take Action!

Sarah Wilson’s family lawyer says they only learned that the internal investigation had been concluded after reading about it in local and national media — not from the city, as promised. Given the mysterious nature of Wilson’s alleged suicide and the police department’s stunning lack of transparency and communication with her family, it’s time for federal authorities to step in.

Add your name this Care2 petition to request that the U.S. Department of Justice conduct an external investigation into the death of Sarah Wilson and the Chesapeake Police Department to guarantee that her family learn the truth, as well as ensure that individuals responsible for any wrongdoing are held accountable!

Creating a Care2 petition is easy. If you have an issue you care deeply about, why not start your own petition? Here are some guidelines to help you get started and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo Credit: Getty Images


silja s
silja salonen19 days ago

complete poppycock .. signed

Kevin B
Kevin B19 days ago

signed, of course

Gino C
Gino C19 days ago


Coo R
Coo R23 days ago


David J
David J23 days ago

Micheal Canny makes me think. In this article, however, I can not figure out where the handcuffs were.

Anette S
Anette S23 days ago

If the handcuffs were still behind their back, then this is a plain lie!

Michael Canny
Michael Canny24 days ago

I was in law enforcement for over 30 years. I have personally observed and experienced people doing a lot of things while handcuffed, including stepping through their handcuffed arms and putting the cuffs in front of them.
In Virginia, the Office of the Medical Examiner is an independent agency, not under the control of the local or State Police. They have their own investigators. So, an independent investigation has been done.
I have seen and experienced teens acting very impulsively and illogically. There is also the very real possibility that she was under the influence of drugs. This situation is incredibly sad, but the primary culprit seems to be illicit drugs--and the combative boyfriend, who diverted the attention of the officers. If he just followed instructions, his girlfriend would have been much more likely to be stopped by the officers.

Melanie St. Germaine
Melanie S24 days ago

Prayers for Sarah so sad :(

Liliana Garcia
Liliana Garcia24 days ago

Signed. What does the boyfriend recall about this? Who is the medical examiner? I think this calls for a second autopsy. It looks as though there is a systematic thing going on in many parts of USA. Police officers have been told they have a right to execute people on the spot. It is like a silent culling of the less privileged.

Brandy S
Brandy S25 days ago

Just because I said so just doesn't cut it. An investigation, by an outside agency, proferably, must be conducted.