CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield police are investigating after a man apparently killed himself after the accidental death of his child.
Chesterfield police Lt. Col. Chris Hensley said officers got a tip about noon about a man who was suicidal at his home in the 14100 block of Aldengate Road.
While responding, officers got another tip from one of the man’s family members — who had spoken to the father on the phone — saying that there might be a dead 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 child’s father realized that he had left the toddler in the car for about 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 home in Midlothian.
When police arrived, officers found a car in the driveway with the back seat door open and an empty car seat inside. Officers found the 18-month-old boy dead inside the home.
Police said their investigation revealed that the 37-year-old father had shot himself. He 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 that they are considering the child’s death accidental.
The temperature was in the 70s in Midlothian, and it’s not yet known if the child died from heat exhaustion.
This report includes additional reporting by 8News Reporter Ben Dennis.