MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WATE) – Morristown police discovered a three-year-old boy dead in a minivan Thursday after responding to a report of a missing child.
Officers were dispatched to a residence on the 2400 block of Fairview Road around 10 p.m. Thursday to investigate the disappearance of a three-year-old boy who had not been seen since around 4 p.m.
Officers found the child dead in a minivan parked in the driveway. Police say the van appears to have not been driven in some time and the child climbed into the van himself.
Morristown police say it appears to have been a miscommunication between the grandmother and the child’s parents. The parents work night shift and went to bed at 4 p.m., and the grandmother thought the child was with them taking a nap.
The parents left for work shortly before police were called and thought the child was with the grandmother. The grandmother called the parents when she was putting the kids to bed and couldn’t find the 3-year-old. The parents then called police.
Officers say it took around 15 minutes to find the child and believe the passenger door was unlocked, not the sliding door. They believe the child got in through the passenger door and couldn’t get back out.
The police department at this time is calling it a tragic accident.
Michelle Jones, administrative deputy chief of the Morristown Police Department, said that people should make sure to lock any vehicles or containers that children can get into and become trapped.
“If it’s on the property, it’s it’s accessible to the child in any way, make sure that all of the doors are locked, and when it’s appropriate, to teach a child how to unlock an open door from the inside,” Jones said.
She said it’s unclear who was the last person to see the child and when the last time they saw him.