Three-year-old hurt in crash dies

Published 5:03 pm Friday, January 4, 2013

NEWPORT NEWS—The investigation continues into a 3-year-old who was found dead at his home in Newport News one day after he suffered apparent minor injuries from a car accident in Southampton County.

Austin Taylor and his mother, Tomeshia L. Searles, 32, also of Newport News, were treated and released from Southampton Memorial Hospital after the crash, said Major Gene Drewery with the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office. The crash occurred at 12:35 p.m. Dec. 26 on Route 58 at Pope Station Road near Capron.

“The next morning, she found the child unresponsive and called the paramedics,” Drewery said.

The child died on Dec. 27 at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, he said.

Drewery did not want to speculate as to whether or the not the toddler’s death appeared accidental or suspicious.

“There were no obvious injuries,” he said.

Glenn McBride, the district administrator for the Medical Examiner’s Office in Norfolk, said toxicology tests were done on the toddler and sent to the Department of Forensic Sciences. McBride would not comment on a possible cause of death or whether or not there were obvious injuries to the child.

Holly McPherson, an assistant public information officer with Newport News Police, did not investigate the death and could not comment without talking to the detective. McPherson cannot do that until Monday.

“I need to look into the record and see who is investigating the case,” she said.

Searles was driving a 2003 Hyundai Sonata and lost control of the compact car on the wet highway, Drewery said. The car hit a tree.

She was not wearing a seatbelt and Austin was in a car seat.

“We are working the death investigation with them (Newport News Police) and have been in contact with them about the accident,” Drewery said.

Austin is also survived by his father Antonio Taylor and sisters TaQuaja and Nakya Searles.