Child found dead in vehicle, police say

Updated: July 4, 2008 10:30 AM PDT

PORTSMOUTH, VA. (WAVY.com) -- A toddler was found dead in a vehicle, and police are trying to determine what happened. Police aren't saying if the boy died inside the house and was brought out to the car, or if the boy died in the car due to the heat.

A 911 call came in at 6:30 Friday night. The caller said there was a baby in a green Chevy Trailblazer. When police arrived at the 100 block of Tyler Crescent East in Portsmouth, they say "the boy was unresponsive, and pronounced dead."

Neighbors say the parents were very upset, screaming and hollering in shock. Zeaulene Sykes lives in the neighborhood and said, "You often hear kids screaming and hollering, but this wasn't children, it sounded like distress. That's when we saw the mother passed out on the yard."

Police questioned both parents for hours, along with a family friend. Several detectives were on the scene collecting evidence from the SUV, the yard and the house.

Neighbors say it all seemed unreal. They often saw the children playing in the front yard, like a happy well adjusted family.

Police say they're still investigating, and no charges are pending at this time.



Portsmouth 2-year-old found dead identified
Posted to: News Portsmouth

By John Warren
The Virginian-Pilot
© July 6, 2008

The 2-year-old boy who died Thursday in Portsmouth has been identified by a grandparent.

The boy is Andrew Stephen Culpepper, said his grandfather, Kenneth Culpepper of Suffolk. The boy had just turned 2 years old, and lived with his parents, Andrew W. Culpepper and Lonnie Rene Hecker, on Tyler Crescent East in Portsmouth.

Police said the boy had been found unresponsive in a car on Tyler Crescent East, in the Glensheallah neighborhood near the Willett Hall auditorium. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene. Saturday evening, police continue not to release circumstances of the child's death, nor would they confirm his identify. Police spokeswoman Ann Hope said she does not expect more information to be forthcoming from police until Monday.

Neighbors described a chaotic scene when police responded, around 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Neighbor Jeffrey Crews-Aston said: "The father kept saying it was his fault, over and over."

A green SUV sat by the home, its back door open, a child seat sitting on the lawn.

According to an obituary submitted Saturday to The Virginian-Pilot, Culpepper's funeral is set for Tuesday at Meadowbrook Memorial Mausoleum. Visitation will be Monday at Sturtevant Funeral Home in Portsmouth.

John Warren, (757) 222-5114, john.warren@pilotonline.com


Portsmouth toddler in car died from overheating, medical examiner says