A New Hampshire man was hoping he was looking at a doll when he spotted a figure steps away from his neighbor’s door on early Monday morning.
As Valley News reports, Shane Rowe’s girlfriend had gone outside to start their cars when he noticed something unusual from his apartment window.
According to WBAL11, Rowe said:
“I saw a little girl next to the bottom of the stairway. I said to myself, ‘I hope that’s a doll.'”
However, when his girlfriend ran across the street to investigate, she found Sofia Van Schoick, 2, wearing only pajamas.
A community is mourning the loss of 2y/o Sofia who wandered outside her Newport, NH home around 4am. Police say she likely died due to the frigid temps. A neighbor found the toddler in her pajamas and barefoot about 3hrs later. Hear from her family at 11p @7News #7News pic.twitter.com/vVJYWV6ogr
— Nathalie Pozo (@Nathalie7News) January 15, 2019
Following her discovery, she began banging on the door to inform the child’s parents. The mother, Courtney Van Schoick, picked the little girl up, wrapped her in a blanket, and dialed 911.
According to WBAL11, Chief James Burroughs said:
“Newport emergency personnel responded and found she was not responsive and was found to be deceased.”
As Valley News reports, Burroughs does not believe foul play was involved. He has summed it up to a “bad accident.”
The toddler is believed to have wandered outside of the home in the middle of the night and was unable to get back in. Temperatures had dropped as low as eight degrees below zero. Reports indicate the child died from exposure and hypothermia.
💔 This is Sofia, the 2-year-old girl who died in Newport this morning: https://t.co/kaaXtOUbED
(Photo furnished by: Courtney Van Schoick) pic.twitter.com/YB4blb75kU
— WMUR TV (@WMUR9) January 14, 2019
Courtney described her daughter as “the happiest and smartest toddler you would have ever met.”
As WBAL11 reports, Rowe and his girlfriend were woken up around 4 a.m. by the sound of cries, but they didn’t see anything from their window.
Further, Rowe empathized with Sofia’s mother during her grief.
“It’s got to be devastating, because I know if it were my child, I would be torn apart.”
Lindsay Van Schoick, Sofia’s grandfather, said his granddaughter, her twin brother, Camden, and their pregnant mother moved to Newport a few days ago and were still settling in.
She was a very precocious 2½-year-old girl, way ahead of her time. She was very independent, ahead of her time.”
The grandfather said he believed Sofia may have gotten disoriented in her new home, as she frequently got up and wandered around in the middle of the night.