Virginia father fatally shoots self after finding toddler dead in hot car, police say

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — A father died by suicide outside his Virginia home Tuesday after police said he discovered his 18-month-old son’s lifeless body inside his hot car in the family’s driveway, Chesterfield police confirmed.

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Police said it appeared the child was left in the car for as many as three hours but noted that the investigation is only in its preliminary stages, WTVR-TV reported.

According to WRIC-TV, the man’s family members called the Chesterfield Police Department at about 11:42 p.m. after he called relatives to inform them of the child’s death and of his suicidal plans.

“As [police officers] were responding, they were advised that there may be a deceased child at the residence,” Chesterfield Police Lt. Col. Christopher Hensley told WTVR.

According to WRIC, police said a second family member who contacted the department while officers were en route to the Aldengate Road residence stated that they had been made aware that the toddler was never dropped off at day care Tuesday morning.

“Upon their arrival, they located a vehicle in the driveway with an open door with the empty child seat in the vehicle. As they made entry into the residence, they found a deceased 18-month- old inside,” he added.

The 37-year-old father was found dead by officers in the woods behind the home of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, WRIC reported.

Hensley called the situation a “horrible tragedy on so many levels,” WTVR reported.

“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 obviously check your vehicles as you go through.”

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