A father in Virginia took his own life after discovering he had accidentally left his 18-month-old boy to die in the backseat of a hot car on Tuesday, according to police.
The father was out with his son when the tragic mishap occurred and after finding the child’s lifeless body inside the car he raced back to his Chesterfield County home shortly before noon and took the boy inside the residence, WRIC reported, citing police.
Soon after the dad arrived home, police received a call that the man was suicidal. On the way to the house, police received a second call from a family member who said that the boy’s father had told them that he had left his son in the car for as long as three hours and that the baby might be dead, the report said.
When officers arrived at the home, they found the car in the driveway with the backdoor still open and the children’s car seat empty.
Inside the house they found the toddler dead, cops said.
The 37-year-old father was found dead in the wooded area behind the house from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Neither the father nor the toddler’s identities have been released.
“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,” Officer Chris Hensley told reporters. “But we would be remiss to not take an opportunity for people to realize how important it is to obviously check your vehicles.”
Police said they’ve remained in contact with the dead child’s mother and other family members as they continue to investigate.
The 18-month-old is the seventh child to die as a result of being left inside of a hot car this year, and the 914th since 1998, according to noheatstroke.com, a website started by meteorologist Jan Null that tracks such deaths.