Bullying accusations in firefighter's suicide under investigation

Chief Richard Bowers said his focus at the moment is on Nicole Mittendorff's grieving family and colleagues, but that he has zero-tolerance for bullying

MADISON COUNTY, Va. — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Chief Richard Bowers spoke out about Nicole Mittendorff's death, saying that in time he will shift his attention to whether bullying played any part in her suicide.

WJLA.com reported that Chief Bowers said the Virginia State Police investigation into the case will reveal the facts, likely including any potential examples of bullying. He said his focus at the moment is on Mittendorff's grieving family and colleagues.

Mittendorff's body was found last Thursday in Shenandoah National Park. Investigators discovered a suicide note, the details of which remain undisclosed. Online message boards, dating back to last December, reveal posts in which Mittendorff's name was used in a negative manner, some of which were allegedly written by members of the Fairfax County Fire Department.

"If there is any nexus with any type of bullying — which I have zero tolerance for in a physical nature of bullying itself, or in the written nature or the verbal nature of bullying, if you will — I will address that and eradicate that completely, if in fact it involves any members of our department," Chief Bowers said.

Mittendorff's funeral is set for Thursday afternoon.

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