Appeals courts weighs in on Detroit mom's lawsuit over Facebook post about son in sewer

click to enlarge Detroit firefighters removed Osean Locket Jr.'s body from a sewer in 2015. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
Detroit firefighters removed Osean Locket Jr.'s body from a sewer in 2015.

Brenda Burton’s tireless, two-month search for her 19-year-old son ended in heartbreak in 2015 after a Detroit water department worker posted on Facebook that he had found a “dead body in the sewer.”

Fearing it was her son, Osean Lockett Jr., Burton rushed to the scene near Sorrento Avenue and Chalfonte Street, where a HAZMAT team was removing the body. It was her son.

Saying the Facebook post was reckless and caused her emotional distress, Burton unsuccessfully sued the city and water department employee.

Last week, the Michigan Court of Appeals denied her request to reinstate the lawsuit, saying the post may have been “thoughtless” but it wasn’t “utterly intolerable in a civilized society,” The Associated Press reports.

Burton last saw her son alive when she dropped him off at a BP gas station to hang out with friends. After he failed to return home, Burton searched dozens of vacant houses, scoured abandoned lots, and posted missing signs around their west side neighborhood.

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About The Author

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist who operated Motor City Muckraker, an online news site devoted to exposing abuses of power and holding public officials accountable. Neavling also hosted Muckraker Report on 910AM from September 2017 to July 2018. Before launching Motor City Muckraker,...
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