Investigators: Toddler found dead likely entered van, became trapped

A Morristown 3-year-old child was found dead inside a minivan late Thursday evening. /Source: (Morristown Police)
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MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (WVLT) -- According to a report from the Morristown Police Department, a 3-year-old boy was found dead inside a minivan late Thursday evening.

According to police, officers responded to 2456 Fairview Road around 10 p.m. for a missing child report.

The child had been missing since about 4 p.m. and was suspected to have wandered out of the house, according to the report.

After a search, officers found the child dead inside a 2002 Chrysler Town and Country minivan that was parked in the driveway.

Investigators are calling the incident a "tragic accident," saying they believe the toddler likely entered the vehicle without anyone knowing and became trapped.

Administrative Deputy Chief Michelle Jones said, "The mother and father had gone to work, and the grandmother had the children. At bedtime she goes to put the children to bed, and he's not there. So she immediately contacts the mother, immediately contacts the police...and that's when we respond."

Investigators said they searched the property and found the van. "The van had been parked on the property, and some of the grass had grown around it, so that let investigators know that this child wasn't left by someone in the van," Jones said. "It appears that the child actually got himself into the van and was then simply unable to get out."

No details about the cause of death have been released by officials with an autopsy pending.

No charges have been filed at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

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