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Woman killed after lifeguard stand falls at Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Virginia Beach police identified the victim as Chelsea Moles, 28. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Friends and loved ones are coming to grips with the loss of a young woman who died at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront this weekend.

Police officers said an accident involving a lifeguard stand claimed the life of 28-year-old Chelsea Moles.

"I was devastated," said Frank, who preferred not to give his last name. He recalled his reaction upon learning about Moles' death. 

"She was very outgoing and compassionate about a lot of people," Frank added.

He said he and Moles were recently in a relationship, "She was like the best girl in the world." 

A spokesman with Virginia Beach Police Department told 13News Now officers answered a call about a lifeguard stand toppling on someone, at around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday. 

Detectives identified the victim as Moles, who was believed to be experiencing homelessness and sleeping on a stand near 21st Street.

Credit: 13News Now

Patrick McNeely, who is also unhoused, said he would see her around time and again at the Oceanfront. 

"I heard about. It's really sad. It's sad," McNeely said. 

Police investigators said another person tied a hammock to the stand with Moles on top asleep, causing it to fall over and crush her.

"I don't understand the whole thing where it fell on somebody. Those things are really heavy," McNeely stated. 

While in mourning, friends of Moles off-camera shared the same curiosity with 13News Now. 

The spokesman with the VBPD said, as of now, detectives are deeming what happened an accident and there are no charges filed. 

Friends are planning to gather for a candlelight vigil later this week, in memory of Moles. 

Leaders with the City of Virginia Beach are sharing the following information for anyone who may be experiencing homelessness. A spokesman sent 13News Now this statement:

The City has a Homeless Outreach Team that goes out into the community to find and engage people who are living unsheltered. They meet unsheltered individuals where they are to conduct assessments and provide information and resources. For individuals who are open to assistance, the Outreach Team can make direct referrals to shelter and connect them to community resources provided by the City or our faith and nonprofit partners. 

In recent years, the City has enhanced outreach at the oceanfront by providing flexible hours and through ongoing coordination with VBPD and the Resort Management Office. Emergency Housing Vouchers were also targeted and prioritized for the most vulnerable individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness at the oceanfront.

It’s important to note that Outreach’s role is not to control unsheltered individuals’ behaviors. While resources are offered to them, staff cannot compel anyone to engage with the programs, or accept shelter or housing.

Other ways people experiencing homelessness or a housing crisis can access resources are:

  • Visiting the Housing Resource Center (HRC) at 104 N. Witchduck Road: triage and assessment for homeless services, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. - noon (e.g. help with locating housing; financial assistance to prevent homelessness; referrals to shelter, housing or other resources). Additional resources at the HRC include:
    • Day services for unsheltered individuals (showers, laundry, mail, housing support), health services and Human Services (Employment Services, mainstream benefits, Behavioral Health, etc.)

For more information about the HRC, visit www.VirginiaBeach.gov/HousingResourceCenter. 

    • Calling the Regional Housing Crisis Hotline at 757-227-5932, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.: Screening and referrals to various community resources.

For more information on community resources and our network of City, nonprofit and faith partners working together to address homelessness, visit www.BEACHCommunityPartnership.org.

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