Chief to investigate online bullying after Nicole Mittendorff’s death
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Fairfax County Fire Rescue Chief Richard Bowers is speaking out about the online bullying for former firefighter Nicole Mittendorff. Mittendorff, 31, committed suicide earlier this month. Her body was discovered after several days of searching Shenandoah National Park, where her car was discovered.
“I would like to take a minute to address the local web forum posts that so many of you have been discussing regarding Firefighter-Nicole Mittendorff,” Chief Bowers wrote in a statement posted online. “We at Fairfax Fire and Rescue are aware of the posts and are looking into the matter. I assure you that my department can not and will not tolerate bullying of any kind.”
Bowers did not address the content of the web forum posts citing his desire to respect the family’s privacy in their time of mourning.
“We will thoroughly investigate this matter and take any appropriate actions needed,” he said.
The posts in question were left in online message boards dating back to last December, WJLA reported. Some of the posts identified Mittendorff by name and talked about her in a negative manner. Some of the posts, WJLA reported, seemed to be written by members of the fire department on which Mittendorf served.
“If there is any nexus with any type of bullying – which I have zero tolerance for – in a physical nature, written, or verbal nature of bullying, I will address that and eradicate that completely,” the chief said. “If in fact, there is anybody responsible for any piece of this I will hold them accountable.”
Body of missing Virginia firefighter found
Mittendorff’s body was discovered at a national park nearly a week after she failed to show up at work, authorities say.
Virginia State Police officers discovered the body last Thursday in Shenandoah National Park.
Nicole Mittendorff’s 2009 Mini Cooper was found the prior Saturday night, a day after she was reported missing.
In addition to the remains, police said they found a suicide note in her vehicle, according to the affiliate. It said authorities have ruled out foul play in her death.
Officers discovered the remains in treacherous, rocky terrain more than a mile from where her car was parked, authorities said.
Since she was reported missing April 15, her relatives and colleagues have appealed to the public for help finding her.
The 31-year-old was last heard from via text messages April 13, family and friends have said.
CNN Wire contributed to this report.