Counseling will be offered in connection with death of school resource officer

TOPPING—Many in the community are saddened by the death of Middlesex County Deputy Sheriff Melinda Hart, who has served as the School Resource Officer at St. Clare Walker Middle School for several years.

While the circumstances surrounding her passing are still under investigation by the Virginia State Police, the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office is working closely with the Middlesex Public School System to offer counseling services to students and the community, stated a press release from Middlesex County Sheriff David Bushey on Monday, December 30.

Also on Monday, Sheriff Bushey said a meeting was planned for Tuesday to develop a strategy to offer counseling to students who knew Deputy Hart. Agencies to be involved in that meeting included the Middlesex County Public Schools, Middle Peninsula-Northern Neck Community Services Board, and Middlesex County Administration.

All unattended deaths are investigated by police and an autopsy is performed by the state medical examiner in Richmond.

Sheriff Bushey said he could not comment on the investigation.

It is not clear if Hart’s death is the subject of a press release issued on December 29 by Virginia State Police public information officer Sergeant Michelle Anaya regarding a death in the Topping area. However, there had been no other deaths reported this week at that time, and Sgt. Anaya declined to comment further or identify the deceased.

Sgt. Anaya’s press release stated that on Sunday, December 29, the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Chesapeake Field Office, was requested by the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office to investigate an unattended death. Agents responded to the 8400 block of General Puller Highway in the Topping section of Middlesex County where a male stated that a family member would not leave the residence, states the December 29 press release.

At approximately 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 29, the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office was called to respond to the residence and, upon arrival, a 48-year-old female was found deceased at the above address.

The death does not seem to be suspicious in nature at this time, said the press release.

State Police have identified and notified family members at the scene and are currently investigating the incident.