17-month-old dies after being left in hot car in Goochland: ‘It is devastating’ 

Posted at 11:30 PM, Aug 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-08 23:58:08-04

GOOCHLAND COUNTY, Va. -- At approximately 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, Goochland Sheriff’s dispatchers received a 911 call from a mother who had been contacted by her son's daycare asking if her 17-month-old was going to be dropped off.

The mother then contacted the boy’s father who said he had forgotten to drop his son off at daycare - and had left him in the car, in the uncovered parking deck of the Capitol One campus in West Creek Business Park.

Goochland Fire and Rescue, deputies, and Capitol One security all responded and attempted to revive the unconscious 17-month-old.

The boy was then transported to Henrico Doctor’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1:21 p.m, according to Goochland officials.

Friends of a Henrico couple slowly gathered at their home in Glen Allen, and the couple's son was pronounced dead just a few hours earlier.

Friends of the boy's parents said the couple was at home but were grieving and heartbroken.

Janette Fennell is a founder of, an advocacy group that raises "awareness and educating the public about non-traffic incidents which are very serious health and safety issues," according to their website.

"I think everybody can agree that the worst thing to happen to someone is the death of a child," Fennell said. "People really need to understand how this happens."

Fennell said it's quick for individuals to not believe that this tragedy could happen to them.

"I don’t think anyone can even begin to imagine what this family is going through," she said. "Sometimes when you’re in the vehicle you get on autopilot you can lose awareness that your child is in the vehicle."

Fennell is currently working to pass the Hot Cars Act to find a way to notify a driver if someone or something is left unattended in the backseat.

The 17-month-old is the 31st child this year to die due to heatstroke after being left in the car in the United States, according to a press release.

"Virginia ranks #10 in the nation in child hot car deaths with 26 fatalities since 1997. This is the 3rd child to die in a hot car in Virginia this year," the press release read.

The latest local incident involved 4-month-old twins who died after being left in a hot car in Chesterfield back in May, according to police.

The Goochland case is currently still under investigation and no charges have been made – that determination will be made by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office once the investigation is complete.

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