A toddler accidentally left in a vehicle for hours died Tuesday and his father was found dead in an apparent suicide at their Virginia home, police said.
Chesterfield County Police received a call around 11:45 a.m. indicating that an 18-month-old boy may have been left in a vehicle for several hours, police said in a news release.
Lt. Col. Christopher Hensley said police were in touch with the child’s mother and relatives who reported that the boy had not been dropped off at daycare and may be in danger, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Police also learned the boy’s father was at his home and was making suicidal statements.
Responding officers found the boy dead inside the home and the man dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in the woods behind the home, police said.
“It’s just a tragedy on so many levels,” Hensley said. “Our hearts go out to the family and friends that are going to deal with this.”
An investigation shows the father accidentally left the child in the vehicle for several hours and when he discovered the child dead in the vehicle, he returned home, took the child inside and then went outside and shot himself, police said.
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Kids, Cars and Hot Weather Safety Tips
Eight children have died in hot cars in 2022, and an average of 38 children die every year from vehicular heatstroke, according to KidsandCars.org.
Temperatures in cars can rapidly skyrocket to dangerous levels.
KidsandCars.org has safety tips for parents and caregivers, including: Never leave a child alone in a car. Make a habit of checking the backseat every time you leave the car, and place an important item such as a work ID badge or wallet near a child's seat.