Toronto boy, 3, found frozen after wandering outside dies

A three-year-old boy who wandered outside dressed only in a shirt and diaper died Thursday hours after being found frozen in the bitter cold, authorities said.

TORONTO — A three-year-old boy who wandered outside dressed only in a shirt and diaper died Thursday hours after being found frozen in the bitter cold, authorities said.

Police said Elijah had disappeared from a north-end apartment of a family member overnight. He was found in the backyard of a nearby home without vital signs.

Security camera video showed Elijah leaving the building at about 4 a.m. Temperatures had fallen to about -20 C. He was found about six hours later.

“You see the picture of that beautiful little boy with a nice smile and the video of the child going out into the cold … it really is a tragic set of circumstances,” Chief Bill Blair said.

Elijah’s grandmother sobbed and hugged friends as she left her apartment Thursday afternoon.

“No, no, no,” was all she could say through tears.

Her long-time friend and neighbour, Millie Dyer, said the family was distraught.

“He’s very energetic and runs around all over the place,” Dyer said moments before hearing of the boy’s death.

“He’s a very smart little boy.”

Dyer said Elijah, whom she called “sweet,” was over at his grandmother’s place all the time and has two aunts who also live in the same apartment complex.

“When his mom has to work, Elijah is here. And he goes to daycare just down the street,” Dyer said.

Family members, who notified police of his disappearance at about 7:30 a.m., said they had put him to bed Wednesday night and woke up to find him gone and the front door open, police said.

Officers on horseback, foot and in a helicopter searched for him , and police asked neighbours to search their yards, hallways and stairwells for the missing youngster.

“Obviously the police response was aggressive and massive,” Insp. Frank Barredo said.

Pratatban Thurairajah, from the city’s west end, was one of volunteers who helped search for the boy after hearing about the incident on the radio.

“I decided to come down to look for him, trying to find him,” Thurairajah said. “I wanted to find the boy — trying to do my part.”

It’s not the first time a youngster has wandered out into the cold and died.

In December 2009, a seven-year-old Nova Scotia boy died in hospital after surviving two nights lost in the frozen wilderness. James Delorey had apparently followed the family dog into the woods.

There have also been cases in which tots found frozen have made seemingly miraculous recoveries.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

40 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta

Province’s central zone still has no active cases

Red Deerians protest against racism on Saturday

Hundreds filled Red Deer City Hall Park to protest against racism Saturday.… Continue reading

Alberta reports just seven new COVID-19 cases

‘Today’s numbers mark an occasion to be celebrated’

PHOTO: Food Truck Drive and Dash in Red Deer

Food Truck Fridays launched its new drive-thru style event this week. Throughout… Continue reading

Golden Circle executive director shaves head, raises more than $11,000

The executive director of the Golden Circle Senior Resource Centre has shaved… Continue reading

‘Just went crazy:’ Group gets lots of interest in random camping on public land

EDMONTON — Ryan Epp started a Facebook group in early April to… Continue reading

Some things are best avoided

There are some things you just shouldn’t do. Even on a double-dog… Continue reading

Peter Nunoda: Red Deer College has plenty to celebrate

Friday, we celebrated Red Deer College’s 56th graduating class. It looked different… Continue reading

More protests against anti-black racism expected across Canada today

Anti-racism demonstrators are expected to gather across Canada today to protest police… Continue reading

Cities brace for surge in turnout as George Floyd protests persist across U.S.

WASHINGTON — The outraged Americans flooding the national capital this weekend will… Continue reading

Feds sign $105-million deal with Bombardier for two new Challenger jets

Department of National Defence announced the deal with Bombardier on Saturday

‘It’s brewing’: Inmates, guards worry about violence after COVID-19 lockdown

‘Thirteen weeks in a cage the size of your (bathroom) has been pretty devastating’

Most Read