Kingsport police investigating death of toddler
Thursday, August 11, 2005


KINGSPORT - When a 2-year-old Kingsport boy's parents put him down for a nap about 2 p.m. Tuesday, they also laid down to rest.

When they woke up, their son was not in his bed, according to Kingsport police. Parker Gibson's parents found him inside the family vehicle, unconscious and unresponsive, about 5:30 p.m. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Police are continuing to investigate the child's death, but officials said it does not appear to be suspicious.

Kingsport Police Department Detective Cpl. David Quillen said investigators have not determined a cause of death at this time, but an autopsy will be performed.

"It came out as a medical call from either a family member or a neighbor. EMS and police were dispatched since it was a child," Quillen said.

By the time EMS personnel arrived, Quillen said the child's parents had taken him from the vehicle.

The child had no signs of trauma and may have been overcome by heat inside the vehicle, Quillen said. The temperature Tuesday afternoon was about 85 degrees, but inside a vehicle the temperature can rise 20 or more degrees.

"We're looking to see if heat was a factor," Quillen said.

He said the boy did not attend day care, but stayed at home with his mother while his father worked.

The death will be fully investigated as any other, Quillen said.

"We're doing a routine investigation as we do in any child death. It's up to the district attorney's office to determine if any violation of the law occurred," he said.

Autopsy shows toddler likely died of hyperthermia
Tuesday, August 16, 2005


KINGSPORT - Preliminary autopsy findings in the death of a 2-year-old boy indicate he died of hyperthermia, a police detective said Monday.

Kingsport Police Department Detective Melanie Adkins said officials still have not determined how long Parker Gibson had been inside his parents' car last week.

"The preliminary autopsy results indicate the cause of death to be hyperthermia, but we don't have all the reports, so that is not official," Adkins said.

On Friday, Adkins had stated that there was no indication of foul play related to the death.

The boy's parents found him about 5:30 p.m. lying on the driver's side floorboard after they woke up from a nap.

Investigators said the child's parents said they had put him down for a nap around 2 p.m., then took a nap themselves.

When they woke up, young Parker was not in his bed, police said.

"We are still continuing the investigation, and we're reviewing some timelines.

"The case will be turned over to the district attorney's office upon completion of the investigation," Adkins said.

The police department has received a few calls from concerned citizens expressing their views about how the child was able to open a car door himself, Adkins said.

"The parents said he was able to open the car door, and that is a believable statement based on the child's size and information about him," Adkins said.

At 2 years old, she said the boy was tall, very active and healthy.

"The callers are people wanting to make sure we are investigating it thoroughly, and we want to assure them that we are," Adkins said.