A three-year-old girl died tragically when she was locked out of the house in the freezing cold.
The Newport, New Hampshire Police received a 911 call on the morning of January 14, detailing the presence of an unresponsive child.
On their arrival at the two-story house, they found Sofia Van Schoick, 3 years old, dead of exposure,less than a meter from the front door of the family's home.
“I don’t think she made it up the stairs. They found her at the bottom of the stairs. There are things we will never know. We’ll never know what happened.”
Lindsay Van Schoick
Tiny Sofia was found barefoot and clad only in a nightgown in the freezing cold.
According to Police Chief James Burroughs, the responding officers registered the temperature at the scene at 8 degrees below zero.
The next door neighbor and her boyfriend heard cries around 4 a.m. and got up to investigate.
From what investigators have been able to ascertain, tiny Sofia left the house on her own, easily opening the front door.
The Van Schoick had just moved into the home and hadn't had the opportunity to install safety bolts on the front door. The result was a tragic accident.
Although authorities are considering Sofia's death an accident, it is being investigated by the police, the Sullivan County Attorney’s Office, and to the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families.
Burroughs indicated that investigators will be looking at how the child got out of the house undetected, and whether the proper safeguards to prevent such an incident were in place.
Reportedly, the next door neighbor and her boyfriend her cries around 4 a.m. and got up to investigate. They didn't see anything, and went back to bed. By 7 a.m. Sofia was dead.
“I was coming out of my kitchen and looked out the window. I saw a woman standing on the porch, a gentleman in the driveway and what I thought as a doll laying facedown next to the stairs.”
The family is shattered by the loss of the toddler, and devastated by her incomprehensible death from hypothermia on her own doorstep.
The community of Live Oak, Suwannee County, Florida is facing a nightmare.
Two girls, age 1 and 4, and a 6-year-old boy suffocated inside an unplugged chest freezer.
Investigators believe the children climbed in and died after the lid closed and they were unable to get out.
The three children were in the care of a woman, who left them alone briefly to go to the restroom. On her return, she couldn't locate the children and called another woman who assisted her in searching the property.
The women opened the freezer and found the children and started resuscitation attempts before calling 911.
"Upon further inspection of the freezer, an after-market hasp had been installed on the lid in order to secure a padlock on it. It is believed at this time, that when the children entered the freezer, and the lid closed, the hasp fell shut, trapping the children inside. There was no padlock on the freezer."
Sheriff Sam St. John
The Florida Department of Children and Families has been notified of the occurrence, and authorities are waiting for the autopsy reports.
Two of the children - the 1-year old girl and the 6-year old boy - were siblings and were in the custody of their grandmother.
In a related story, a child died in tragic accident when the bouncing castle she was playing on exploded.