CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has now offered a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the person responsible for Nick Clavier's death. The 32-year-old father's October 2015 shooting death was recently reclassified as a homicide. The reclassification came after more than two years of his family pushing police for answers and a series of CBS 6 investigations.
Chesterfield Police initially ruled Clavier's death accidental, that he somehow shot himself while driving his four children on a fishing trip.
"As a result of additional forensic testing and investigation, the Chesterfield County Police Department re-classified Clavier’s death as a homicide in May 2018," a Chesterfield Police spokesperson said. "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of the person or persons responsible for the homicide of Clavier."
Clavier was driving with his four children down Hull Street for a fishing trip when he was shot in the head, and the car veered down the embankment and slammed into a tree in a patch of woods next to Cross Point Church of the Nazarene.
“We were going so fast because his foot was on the gas,” said Nick’s daughter Mikayla Clavier. “Blood from his head was going everywhere. I was covered in blood.”
Officials determined that Clavier’s gun accidentally discharged, but the children had a different account of events.
“In my heart obviously, what happened was the story I have been told over and over by my children — which was that somebody shot him,” Melody Clavier said.
Her older daughter Mikayla, who was in the passenger seat, said she saw a man pointing a gun from a car that pulled up next to them.
“I heard a loud noise,” Mikayla said. “I looked over and saw my dad, he was bleeding and blood was going everywhere.”
She said she saw the car but didn't catch the license plate.
Mikayla said she saw the car drive off fast, and that it was "greenish gray and had a stripe down the middle."
Anyone with information about the shooting was asked to call Chesterfield’s Unsolved/Major Investigations Group at 804-796-7091 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS:
OCTOBER 24, 2015 – Nick Clavier suffers a fatal gunshot wound to the head while driving with his kids in the car. The car goes off the road and crashes into a tree in the 8700 block of Hull Street Road.
OCTOBER 26, 2015 – First CBS 6 report on Clavier’s death. A Chesterfield police spokeswoman tells us: "The investigation continues, but at this point police do not suspect foul play and are not searching for anyone else in relation to the incident."
FEBRUARY 3, 2016 – Clavier’s family members tell CBS 6 that police have ruled his death to be accidental.
DECEMBER 13, 2016 – Ballistics report on the bullet recovered from Clavier’s brain is completed. It states that: “The markings indicate that it could not have been fired from the .380 pistol recovered from the vehicle…Makes it impossible to exclude homicide.”
Medical examiner changes the manner of death from accidental to undetermined.
MAY 12, 2017 – CBS 6 reporter Laura French's first investigative report about this case airs. Clavier’s 11-year-old daughter said that she saw someone in a passing car shoot and kill her dad. Gun expert backs up the ballistics report.
Police tell CBS 6 they still do not believe that Clavier died as result of a homicide, and that his death remains cleared as an accidental death.
MAY 22, 2017 – New witness comes forward because of initial CBS 6 report. Tells police that she helped the kids after the crash, and verified that they said someone had shot their father.
Family contacts State Senator Amanda Chase, and her office confirms to us that they have reached out to police for more information.
MAY 23, 2017 – Police change the status of the case from cleared to pending. They tell us: "[Chesterfield Police Chief] Colonel Dupuis has asked for a review of the case in light of new statements," Chesterfield Police Records Administrator Karen Leonard said. "Therefore, we have changed the status of the case from Cleared to Pending while we investigate further."
JUNE 13, 2017 – Clavier’s wife tells CBS 6 that the FBI is now involved in the investigation, and that she has met with agents.
JUNE 22, 2017 –Clavier’s children are interviewed by the FBI. A child witness expert and a therapy dog from DC are also on hand.
SEPTEMBER 26, 2017 – Clavier’s wife tells us that investigators told her that his gun is being re-tested.
DECEMBER 15, 2017 – Chesterfield police return to the patch of woods where Clavier crashed his car after being shot. Spend six hours digging for clues.
Police tell CBS 6: “We’re doing much of the same things we did the day that the incident happened we’re just going back redoing just to make sure that there was nothing that was missed or overlooked….Really this is the only way we can say that we’ve done everything that we could logically to find out where the truth is.”
APRIL 25, 2018 – The RTDNA announces that CBS 6 has won a regional Murrow award for “News Series” for our coverage of the Clavier case.
MAY 9, 2018 – Chesterfield police announce that the investigation of Clavier’s death will be changed from “undetermined” to “homicide.”