A US toddler accidentally left in a vehicle for hours died on Tuesday and police said his father was found dead in an apparent suicide at their Virginia home, police said.
Chesterfield County Police received a call around 11.45am indicating that an 18-month-old boy may have been left in a vehicle for several hours, police said in a news release.
Temperatures in the area reached 26 degrees on Tuesday.
Lt Col Christopher Hensley said police were in touch with the child's mother and relatives who reported that the boy had not been dropped off at daycare and may be in danger, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Police also learned the boy's father was at his home and was making suicidal statements.
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Responding officers found the car with an empty car seat inside - and then discovered the boy dead inside the home and the man dead in the woods behind the home, police said.
"It's just a tragedy on so many levels," Hensley said. "Our hearts go out to the family and friends that are going to deal with this."
An investigation shows the father accidentally left the child in the vehicle for several hours and when he discovered the child dead in the vehicle, he returned home, took the child inside and then went outside and killed himself, police 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," Hensley said.
SUICIDE AND DEPRESSION
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633 or text 234 (available 24/7)
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (12pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or text 4202 (available 24/7)
• Anxiety helpline: 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY) (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
Additional reporting, NZ Herald