YORK TOWNSHIP, YORK COUNTY, Pa. — York Regional Police are investigating the suspicious death of a five-year-old York County boy.
Initial reports stated the boy allegedly fell down the stairs Tuesday but the York County Coroner later ruled his death as suspicious due to multiple injuries.
The quiet neighborhood where he lived took on a more somber mood Thursday as those who live there express their grief for Preston Hasselberger and the people who loved him.
A townhouse in the 200-block of Dade Court is where neighbors say Preston last called home before he died.
Neighbor Jennifer Williams said “my daughter plays outside with Preston, and their daughter Jayla, and so it hurt. It kind of hit hard.”
Neighbor Evelyn Yingling said “it’s killing me, it’s literally killing me. I mean they’re such little sweeties, they really were.”
Yingling’s house on Dade Court is a makeshift playhouse for neighborhood kids including Preston.
“Kids will all come here. I’m used to it. I have 15 grandchildren, seven biological, but yeah, this is a little safe place,” Yingling said.
“I had seen the baby last year, and during the winter when they were playing, that was about it,” Yingling added.
The York County Coroner first reported Preston was found to be unresponsive after allegedly falling down the stairs at his York Township home. EMS crews were called and took the boy to York Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“It hit me hard, especially being that I have two daughters myself and my youngest is seven. It hit home pretty hard,” Williams said.
“It hurts so bad, especially when you know the babies, you know them all. I would never wish that on anybody,” Yingling said.
Preston’s loss is felt throughout the community as neighbors express their sadness.
“We’re concerned for the family, we feel for them with what they’re going through right now, we’re just hoping every body is ok,” Williams said.
“Really heartbreaking, especially when you see them playing. You know what I’m saying? When you know them. I think it’s hurting a lot of people,” Yingling said.
“He seemed like a really sweet young boy, whose life was taken entirely too short,” Williams said.
Those who had kids who played with Preston are dealing with his to tell their little ones that he’s gone.
“We did not want to say anything yet because they are friends. We want to make sure that we knew pretty much what happened before we break that kind of news to them,” Yingling said.
While police are investigating what the York County Coroner has ruled as a suspicious death, York County Children and Youth Services did not have an open case related to Preston.