Virginia Father Kills Self After He Finds 18-Month-Old Son He Left in Hot Car Dead

A man in Virginia died by suicide after he found his infant child dead in an overheated car.

He had left the child unattended for three hours on Tuesday while he was at work, police officials said.

Father Found with Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound

Chesterfield crime scene
Police at the crime scene in Chesterfield on Tuesday. Twitter

Officials said the 37-year-old father died of a self-inflicted gunshot injury shortly after finding his 18-month-old child motionless inside the car. He was found in the woods behind his house.

Authorities were alerted on Tuesday to reach the family's house. "Upon their arrival, they located the people in the driveway with an open door with an empty child seat in the vehicle. As they made entry into the residence, they found a deceased 18-month-old in the side," said Chesterfield Police Lt Col Christopher Hensley.

When police continued to check the perimeter of the residence, "they found an adult male in the wooded area behind the house [with] an apparent gunshot wound."

Child Left in Car Amid Heatwave in Chesterfield

Police said they are investigating the death of the toddler and the probe is in its preliminary stages. Mr Hensley said that the investigation at this point indicated that at "some point in time during the day, the father who was found deceased had left the child in the car for a period of time causing them to die." The car overheated due to the ongoing heatwave in Chesterfield, according to a local report.

Officials said that when the man found his son dead, he returned home, took the child inside and shot himself. The toddler's mother and relatives contacted police, saying the child may be in danger as he had not been dropped off at the daycare, Mr Hensley said.

Calling it a "horrible tragedy on so many levels", Mr Hensley added, "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 realise how important it is to obviously check your vehicles as you go through."