‘Outgoing and Compassionate’ Woman Crushed to Death at Virginia Beach Waterfront

by Xara Aziz
Virginia Beach Oceanfront

The friends and family of a Virginia Beach woman are in a state of mourning after they learned their loved one died tragically at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront this weekend.

According to authorities, the death involved a lifeguard stand that tool the life of Chelsea Moles, 28.

“I was devastated,” one of Moles’ loved ones named Frank, told 13News Now. He said he never will forget how he found out the news and recalled how wonderful of a human being Moles was.

“She was very outgoing and compassionate about a lot of people,” he said, adding that they were recently in a relationship. “She was like the best girl in the world.” 

The Virginia Beach Police Department told 13News Now that officers were dispatched to the scene in the early morning hours Saturday where they found a lifeguard stand toppling over someone. The victim was soon identified as Moles, who was homeless and was sleeping near the stand on 21st street.

Another unhoused person, Patrick McNeely said she would frequent the Oceanfront area often.

“I heard about. It’s really sad. It’s sad,” McNeely said. 

Investigators believe someone had tied a hammock to the stand while Moles was on top sleeping, causing it to fall and crush her to death.

“I don’t understand the whole thing where it fell on somebody,” McNeely added. Those things are really heavy.”

Off-camera, other friends of Moles questioned McNeely’s point with 13News Now.

A spokesperson at the Virginia Beach Police Department said investigators are now working to piece together clues leading to Moles’ death. No charges have been filed at the time of this writing.

Later this week, family and friends will gather for a candlelight vigil to honor the life of Moles.

A spokesperson with the City of Virginia Beach have shared the following statement with 13News Now providing help with anyone experiencing homelessness in the area.

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.

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