CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield Police are investigating an incident they say appears to involve an adult suicide following the accidental death of a child.
Lieutenant Colonel Chris Hensley with the Chesterfield Police Department said they received a tip around noon that a man was suicidal at his home in the 14100 block of Aldengate Road.
On the way to the address, officers received a second tip from one of the man’s family members – who had spoken to the father on the phone – saying that there may be a deceased child in the house. Police said the family member had been made aware that the 18-month-old was never dropped off at daycare.
Police said the father of the child came to the realization that he had left the toddler in the car for around three hours, while he was at work.
According to police, when the father found his baby boy lifeless in his car, he drove his son back to their Midlothian home.
When police arrived at the address, officers found a car in the driveway with the back seat door open, and an empty car seat inside.
Inside the house, officers found the 18-month-old boy dead. Police said further investigation of the property revealed that the 37-year-old father had killed himself with a firearm, and was found dead in the woods in the backyard of the home.
“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,” Hensley said. “This happens almost every year and all we can do is try and take a negative event like this and turn it into a positive so that people take that moment, learn and pause.”
Police said the father was the only person at home at the time, and they’re currently considering the child’s death accidental.
The temperature was in the 70s in Midlothian when this tragedy occurred, and it’s currently unknown if the child died of heat exhaustion.