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Richmond Hill City Council, Mayor And Police Officer Sued Over Young Girl's Suicide

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Richmond Hill, Ga - WSAV-TV -

The mother of a Richmond Hill teenager who committed suicide in April of 2011 is suing the Richmond Hill City Council, Richmond Hill Mayor Harold Fowler and Richmond Hill Police Cpl. Doug Sahlberg for wrongful death. The suit alleges Cpl. Sahlberg went against Police Department policy in February 2011 by showing his daughter photographs of injuries sustained or inflicted by 14 year old Sydney Sanders in a suicide attempt earlier that month. Cpl. Sahlberg's daughter was a classmate of Sydney Sanders. In a notice sent to the city shortly after Sander's suicide, an attorney for Laura Lane Maia, Sander's mother, alleges the distribution of the photographs was willful, malicious and reckless. The lawsuit states that since Cpl. Sahlberg knew Saunders had already attempted suicide, he should have know that publication of the private, confidential photographs would be offensive and objectionable to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities. The suit alleges Sander's wrongful death by suicide on April 5, 2011 was caused by the combined negligence and tortious misconduct of the defendants.

The suit requests damages for medical and funeral expenses, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and punitive damages for the alleged willful misconduct along with general damages for pain and suffering. There is also a request for the full value of the young girl's life as determined by Georgia law which the court filings indicate amounts to at least $5,000,000. The City Attorney for Richmond Hill would not comment beyond saying the suit had been received and passed on to the city's insurance carrier for defense.

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