On average, 37 children die in hot cars every year because of pediatric vehicular heatstroke.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 29, 2022. It has since been updated.
Trigger Warning: This story mentions death by suicide which may be disturbing to readers.
A father from Virginia ended his life after he found his 18-month-old dead from being in a hot car for too long.
According to NBC News, the bodies were discovered by the cops at a home in Chesterfield County after they received calls about a possibly suicidal man, Lt. Col. Chris Hensley said.
“At some point in time, during the day, the father, who was found deceased in the backyard, had left the child in the car for a period of time, causing them to die,” Hensley said. The names of the victims have not been released, he added.
The cops believe that the little boy was in the car on June 28, 2022, for at least three hours, and the temperature in the area was reportedly in the upper 80s. Hensley then added that it is likely the toddler was forgotten in the car because he was expected to be dropped off at a daycare, but he never turned up.
The father reportedly went out with the son. It is likely that he stepped out of the car, leaving the little one inside because he came back to find the child’s lifeless body. He then rushed back to his home shortly before noon and took the boy inside the residence, WRIC reported.
“Things went sideways at some point, and obviously it appears that the father forgot that the child was in the car,” Hensley said.
As details emerge of a toddler in Bancroft dying after being left in a car on a scorching hot day last week, this well-written WaPo story is worth a read None of these loving, doting parents will ever get over the death and they deserve compassion not hate https://t.co/McNoDuxsp9— Jim Roe (@JimRoe_1) June 27, 2022
A while after the man got home, the cops received a call claiming that he was suicidal. While they were on the way to the house, they 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.
Once they arrived at the address, 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 child's lifeless body.
They then discovered the 37-year-old father's body in the wooded area behind the house.
“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 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.”
Meanwhile, the cops shared that they are in contact with the deceased child’s mother and other family members as they continue their investigation.
The worst part is that this is not a rare occurrence. On average, 37 children die in hot cars every year because of pediatric vehicular heatstroke, according to a 2018 report by the National Safety Council.
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Timothy Abero | EyeEm