On Friday, July 14 officers responded to a report of a child being left in a hot car at Tennessee Mayor Jerry Kirkman’s property. Unfortunately when the police arrived, the two-year-old in question had already passed away. The child has now been identified on social media as the grandchild of Kirkman. The tragic incident took place the previous night when the child was left inside of the car overnight.
As reported earlier in the month, the temperature on that day reached 91 degrees Fahrenheit. Investigators are not confirming the age, gender, or identity of the toddler. They are also choosing not to release how long the child spent unattended in the car or if his parents have been arrested or charged in the case.
Mayor Kirkman has not responded to any media requests for comments. When members arrived at the property occupied by his daughter and son-in-law, the lawn was covered with children’s summer toys but nobody answered the door. Others in the neighbourhood have been filling in for the family’s silence.
Many friends and neighbours of the mayor are turning to social media to express their condolences and memories of the child. “Most of us are parents or grandparents, so we get worked up over this,” one unidentified neighbour said. “You cannot just lose a child for 16 hours and not have some sort of extenuating circumstances. It’s not just ‘Oops.’”
It is known that the toddler was in the care of his parents, a working mother, and a stay-at-home father, at the time of his death. Investigators are currently trying to determine whether it was an accident or homicide. It’s believed that he was left in the car unattended for at least 12 hours before he was discovered.
The police have not officially released the identity of the child’s parents, but they have been unofficially identified by neighbours who confirm that they are the daughter and son-in-law of Mayor Kirkman. Chief Brackins, the lead on this case, claims that both parents were ‘distraught’ after the discovery of their son.
At this time, the Gatlinburg Police Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations are both declining to release the incident report and any specific details because the investigation is currently ongoing. Investigators do not believe that drugs or alcohol were a factor in this tragedy.
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