Baby Sitter, Sheriff Deputy-in-Training Indicted in Death of 4-Year-Old Who Fatally Shot Himself

A baby sitter and a sheriff's deputy-in-training have been indicted on charges related to the death of a 4-year-old boy who accidentally shot and killed himself while at their home in Virginia.

The little boy shot and killed himself May 15 at the home of Heather Massey and Nicholas Stoia in Orange County, Virginia, where Massey was baby-sitting him, authorities have said.

Cole James Clarke Falcetti
Family Photo
Cole James Clarke Falcetti

About an hour after Kyrin Falcetti dropped off her son, Cole, she and her husband got a chilling phone call that something had happened to their son. Somehow, he'd found a loaded gun and shot himself.

"When we got there, it was just an atypical scene," said Cole's father, Josh Falcetti. "The cop cars, the ambulances, everyone's out front, so we knew something bad had happened."

The child was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Both Massey and Stoia, her fiancé, were arrested Monday night, a week after Cole died.

Massey has been charged with one count of felony child neglect, four felony counts of negligently causing the life of a child to be endangered, and four misdemeanor counts of allowing children access to a loaded firearm.

Stoia, a Stafford County sheriff's deputy-in-training, has been indicted on one count of felony child neglect and four misdemeanor counts of allowing children access to a loaded firearm. Stoia was not home when Cole was killed, authorities have said.

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The two are being held without bond in Orange, Virginia. Both have bond hearings Friday.

It is illegal in Virginia to leave a loaded, unsecured firearm where children can find it.

"If you have a weapon, gun safety," said Josh Falcetti last week in the wake of his son's death. "It's something that they teach for any person that gets a weapon. Keep it secure. There's no reason a child should be within reach of any type of weapon whatsoever at any point in time."

The gun involved was not a service weapon, officials have said.

Stoia began working for the sheriff's office in December and enrolled in the Rappahannock Regional Criminal Justice Academy, according to the Stafford County Sheriff's Office.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to raise money for the Falcetti family. The page called Cole "the most lovable boy in this entire world. All he wanted to do was give anyone he saw a hug and tell them all about his favorite movies and toys."

"So we're doing the best we can to provide for him as his parents still," Cole's father said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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