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Toddler found dead outside home in freezing cold

Toddler found dead in bitter cold

Newport, N.H. — Police are investigating the death of a 2-year-old girl found outside a New Hampshire home in bitter cold weather, CBS Boston reported. "All indications are the child left the home on her own in the course of the night without the parents knowing," said Newport Police Chief Jim Burroughs.

"You do this job long enough you see a lot of horrible things," Burroughs said. "This ranks right up there as one of the worst."

A neighbor reported hearing what sounded like crying at 4 a.m. It was eight degrees below zero and it wasn't until 7 a.m. that a neighbor found the child dead on the porch steps from exposure and hypothermia. She was barefoot and wearing pajamas.

The girl's mother, Courtney VanSchoick, said her name was Sofia.

Child Death Cold
This undated family photo provided by Lindsay Van Schoick shows his granddaughter Sofia Van Schoick. Courtesy of Lindsay Van Schoick via AP

VanSchoick had just moved into home with her twin son and daughter. A family member said she'd already spoken with the landlord about changing the door lock because it was too easy to open.

Keith Dee, a neighbor, was almost in tears, as he left flowers on Monday night.

"Usually I take a midnight stroll to go to the store and I felt like I could have done something," Dee said. "It's just, you know, weighing on me."

"I don't blame her for anything," said Dee, referring to the girl's mother. "It was an accident."

Police agree with that but are not ruling out possible charges as the investigation unfolds.

On Facebook, the toddler's mom wrote, "My little angel fly high… Mommy loves you and misses you. Thank you for the best 2 and a half years of my life. Mommy loves you so much."