Va. detective honored for her work to protect suffocation victims

Detective Lorraine Goldberg accepts her Unsung Heroes award in Richmond on April 26, 2023. (Courtesy Lorraine Goldberg)

A Loudoun County detective has a new title — Unsung Hero. Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares awarded Detective Lorraine Goldberg during Victims Rights Week for her work in creating a new state law to protect victims of suffocation.

Goldberg knew as soon as she joined the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office that she wanted to help victims of domestic violence. In her first year on the job, she recognized an uptick in cases involving suffocation.

“I said, ‘You know, we have victims who are going through this. And these are both in domestic violence incidents, they’re also in, we were seeing cases in child care centers, things like that.’ And I said, ‘You know, these are really terrible. We need to be able to do something about them,'” Goldberg told WTOP.

But she learned that unlike 39 other states, including Maryland and West Virginia, Virginia did not have a law on the books that specifically covered the crime of suffocation. So she got to work.

She teamed up with the Domestic Abuse Response Team, the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and a forensic nurse team to create an amendment to the state’s existing strangulation statute.

“And so we all worked together and tried to come up with an amendment to the strangulation statute that would help to address these cases that we were seeing. We took it forward to a couple of delegates and a senator who were willing to step forward on it,” Goldberg said.

House Bill 1673 unanimously passed both chambers and will go into effect July 1.

At an awards ceremony Wednesday, Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman joined Goldberg’s parents, Barbara and Steven Brumheller, in Richmond to see Miyares bestow the Unsung Hero award to the Herndon, Virginia, native.

Goldberg is one of 10 who got the award during Victims Rights Week in Virginia and were selected through a nomination process.

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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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