Police: Child dies after being left in hot car; father kills self

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 2:47 AM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT/Gray News) - Police in Virginia are investigating what they say appears to be the accidental death of an 18-month-old boy and the subsequent suicide of his father.

Officers responded to the 14100 block of Aldengate Road in Chesterfield, Virginia, just before noon Tuesday after receiving a call that a child had been left in a car for several hours and that the father was at the home making suicidal statements.

At the scene, police found a car with its door open in the driveway and a deceased 18-month-old child inside the home, WWBT reports.

Outside the home, they found the child’s father dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in the woods behind the house. Callers had indicated that the father may kill himself in that area.

Police said those calls came from family members who were talking with the father and knew something was off when the child was not at daycare.

Based on their investigation, police said they believe the father discovered the boy had been left in his car while at work. They said the 18-month-old was in the car for at least three hours.

Police said the father then drove home, where he took the boy inside before taking his own life.

“This is a horrible tragedy on so many levels, and our hearts go out to the family and friends that are going to deal with this, but we would be remiss in not taking the opportunity for people to take this moment and realize how important it is to check your vehicles,” said Chesterfield County Police Lt. Col. Chris Hensley.

While the investigation is ongoing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells parents to always check their entire vehicle before locking the door and walking away.

NHTSA also recommends asking your childcare provider to call if your child doesn’t show up for care as expected.

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