Three young Florida children sat strapped in their car seats watching movies along the interstate as their parents laid dead outside the family SUV. Daytona Beach area police investigators still do not know why Daniel Kelsey and Heather Kelsey stopped on Interstate 4 on New Year’s Eve.
A Florida Highway Patrol trooper spotted the still-running vehicle parked along I-4 around 1:30 a.m. and stopped to offer aid. When the trooper parked, he quickly discovered Daniel Kelsey, 32, dead on the ground and his wife, Heather Kelsey, 30, slumped against the SUV, also dead.
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The couple’s three young sons, age 2 and younger, were safe and healthy inside the vehicle. The Daytona Beach area state highway patrolman estimates the Kelsey SUV had been stopped alongside the busy interstate for about a half hour before he found it, CBS News notes.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Florida law enforcement investigators believe both Daniel and Heather Kelsey may have died of a drug overdose. Reports on a possible past history of drug abuse by the couple are currently incomplete and conflicting. Initial reports indicate neither Kelsey had any prior arrest record related to drug use. But, the New York Daily News is reporting the couple suffered from a long history of drug addiction. Loved ones, who have spoken to the media, registered their shock and disbelief about the drug overdose preliminary cause of death.
Leigh Meekins, a long-time family friend, told local reporters that Daniel and Heather Kelsey had recently moved and were back in the area for a visit.
“It’s not for somebody else to make speculation before they know anything,” Meekins said, referencing all the comments on social media over the suspected drug overdose that caused the death of her friends. “I know [them]. If they were into anything, they would never do it around their kids. They were never like that.”
“It’s heartbreaking, especially for those boys. Heather was one of my closest friends. She’s good people. They’re both good people,” Meekins said.
Police find dead parents by a car on a highway, but three sons in the backseat are alive, what happened? https://t.co/vUsEa3bMQN
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Heather Kelsey and Daniel Kelsey had been married for six years. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said the autopsy reports showed no sign of trauma or foul play in relation to the cause of death. Chitwood also told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that Daniel Kelsey tested “presumptive positive” for drugs and also had a “presence of weed” in his urine. An official cause of death will not be determined until the results of the toxicology reports are completed.
The Kelsey family was traveling home to Ormond Beach after visiting relatives in the town of Quincy in the Florida Panhandle. The hazard lights on their Ford Freestyle were still blinking when it was spotted parked along a paved shoulder area of Interstate 4. Their children, Aiden, 2, Nicholas, 1, and an infant, Joseph, are not expected to be able to shed any light on what led to the emergency stop by their parents.
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Florida Department of Children and Families representative John Harrell told local reporters the three young boys are being taken care of by relatives of Daniel Kelsey.
“We’re very sensitive to what these children have been through. That’s the main priority,” Harrell said.
Jerrell Jackson said he and Daniel Kelsey had been friends since middle school. When speaking to the press, Jackson said he “loved Dan like a brother.” He also stated Kelsey was both a very loving and devoted father who rarely went anywhere without his boys. Just a few days before Daniel and Heather Kelsey were found dead, Jackson said his old friend was speaking with great pride about baby Joseph taking his first steps.
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