Chesterfield police: Child dies after being left in vehicle; father kills self

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 2:42 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2022 at 8:47 AM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Chesterfield police are investigating what they say appears to be the “accidental death of a child and subsequent suicide of an adult.”

Officers responded to the 14100 block of Aldengate Road just before noon on 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-child inside the home.

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

“As they made entry into the residence, they found a deceased 18-month-old inside,” Lt. Col. Chris Hensley said. “As they continued to check the perimeter of the residence, they found an adult male in the wooded area behind the house deceased from an apparent gunshot wound.”

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 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 remised in not taking the opportunity for people to take this moment and realize how important it is to check your vehicles,” Hensley said.

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.

Watch Chesterfield police’s press conference below:

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