CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The case of a Chesterfield father, who was fatally shot while driving his four children to a fishing trip, is moving forward with the help of the FBI.
Melody Clavier met with agents from the victims’ unit regarding the investigation into her husband Nick Clavier’s death on October 24, 2015.
“It sounds like they are taking a more detailed look into things and with fresh eyes,” said Nick’s widow. “They are pulling in other resources, new people who have unbiased opinions to be able to look at it and that gives me a lot of comfort.”
Chesterfield police determined that Clavier's own gun accidentally discharged inside his car as he was driving in the 8700 block of Hull Street Road before he crashed with his kids in the vehicle.
However, his daughter Mikayla who was nine years old at the time, says the bullet was fired by someone who pulled up next to them in a vehicle which she later sketched.
“I saw the guy pointing a gun,” said Mikayla. “I heard a loud noise, I looked over and saw my dad, he was bleeding and blood was going everywhere.”
Mikayla and her siblings will have another opportunity to give details of that day on June 22. The kids were interviewed by Chesterfield investigators after the crash, but as details of the accident emerged in the weeks following the tragedy their mother urged police to talk to the children again. On June 22, all four kids will be re-interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center in Henrico County.
“The purpose of the Child Advocacy Center is to make all of those professionals come together in one place so the child doesn’t have to talk about his story to multiple people several times to inevitably re-traumatize them. So we try to take care of it once and get as much detail and information that we need,” said Child Advocacy Center Coordinator Stephanie Davis.
The kids will be joined by a therapy dog from Washington DC and a forensic investigator who is trained in child witnesses.
“She’s coming in from out of state,” said Melody. “They called her in because she is top in her field and that’s why the FBI is in on this with Chesterfield because they had more resources which really is great news to me.”
“Obviously, with the time that has been lost it’s going to take someone who really knows how to raise triggers to help them recall things, details that could be helpful,” she added.
This comes after a CBS 6 investigation revealed that ballistics returned in December, determined the bullet retrieved from Nick’s brain did not match his gun.
Less than two weeks later, the Chesterfield Police Department changed the status of the case from cleared to pending.
“A lot more of a structural plan, whereas before it was what it was… a closed case so the fact that there is a plan being set and steps are being made it’s a very reassuring feeling,” said Melody.
The CAC says the kids can be reassured that their comfort is the center’s top priority.
“As trained forensic interviewers, we are trained to ask questions in a very open ended and non-leading way and we will never force a child to talk about something that they are not ready to talk about. Our main goal is to reduce the amount of trauma they have to experience,” said Davis. “They don't feel like they are in a police department or office building, it's meant to feel homey so they feel really comfortable here.”
Police investigators will watch the recorded interview from a nearby room.
“Investigators can make sure during the interview all of their questions get asked and answered as well,” said Davis.
“Then it’s up to Chesterfield to look further in regards to information they are able to glean from the children,” said Melody. “I’m confident that they’ll do what’s right.”
Melody says she takes comfort knowing that her kids are now thriving because their voices are being heard.
“If nothing ever comes of this, it has brought healing to our family, especially Mikayla who really just wanted to feel validated, wanted to feel somebody was listening,’ said Melody.
Since being interviewed by CBS 6 Melody says her daughter Mikayla has returned to her old self.
“Just the fact of knowing that they are looking into it, to her, has been a huge weight lifted off her shoulders and has really changed her for the better. She has gone back to being a child,” she added. As a mom, just seeing your child play again is huge and if nothing else comes of it but that, I’m okay with that.”
"Ultimately it would be great to get definite answers and have justice shown for something, but bottom line is just knowing that there’s effort being put forth is just a really big burden that’s lifted," said Melody.
If you have any information about this case you are asked to call Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.
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