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On June 28th, around noon, Virginia officers were notified that a child had been abandoned in a car for several hours while the father was making suicidal comments.
Police were called to a home in Chesterfield County after family members who spoke with the 37- year-old father (only his age has been revealed) believed something was off with him. Then, after finding out the 18-month-old baby boy did not attend daycare, they contacted the police because they started getting worried. The officers received calls suggesting the toddler could still be in the hot car and another about how the dad was making suicidal statements.
Earlier that evening, the father found his son dead in his vehicle, which was parked outside his occupation for at least three hours. Based on their investigation, police determined that the father accidentally left his son in the car for at least three hours, with temperatures in the high 80s.
After the baby was discovered dead inside, police found the father’s body in a wooded area behind the home. His death is being investigated, but officials believe it was suicide due to the gunshot wound.
Baby dies in hot car, deaths occur annually
Not being able to live with the guilt, the father allegedly shot himself after unintentionally leaving his child in the car and then realizing the child had died.
According to the National Safety Council report in 2018, an average of 37 children die in hot vehicles yearly from pediatric vehicular heatstroke.
“When the father discovered the child deceased in the vehicle, he returned home and took the child inside the residence. He then exited the residence and shot himself.”, officials stated.
Lieutenant Colonel Chris Hensley of Chesterfield Police Department told NBC News, “Things went sideways at some point, and obviously it appears that the father forgot that the child was in the car,” he said, calling the situation “a horrible tragedy.”
Hensley stated, “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.”
It’s unclear whether the 18-month-old child died of a health-related illness; however, officials consider the boy’s death an accident.
July to be another hot month
Throughout June, many similar tragedies like this have occurred, children dying in hot vehicles due to family members losing track of time and failing to realize their kids are still in the car.
This week’s incident is the most recent hot-car death, as many states will experience extreme heat during July.
Last week, a 5-year-old boy died after being left in the car for two to three hours while his parents prepared for his sibling’s birthday party. The incident happened in Houston, Texas, when the mom noticed her son buckled up in the car after two to three hours.
On June 16th, a 3-month-old boy passed away after his family left him in the car for several hours while the temperature was 92 degrees. This incident occurred in Upper Saint Clair, Pennsylvania, around 5:00 p.m., when officers found the baby unresponsive.
With the temperature rising, the tragic story reminds parents they must check their cars to ensure they will not experience what these families did.