WATCH ABOVE: A tragic end for a missing Toronto toddler found outdoors. Peter Kim has the story.
TORONTO – A missing Toronto toddler found outdoors in the extreme cold has died in hospital, police confirmed Thursday.
Elijah, the 3-year-old boy was found in life-threatening condition outside of 91 Baycrest Ave. in a rear yard just after 10 a.m., three hours after he was reported missing by family members.
He was transported to North York General Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Authorities say the boy was staying with family members at an apartment building located at 145 Neptune Dr. near Bathurst Street and Highway 401 where he was initially reported missing.
Police say the boy was put to bed around 9 p.m. and the family reported him missing at 7:30 a.m. Security footage from the apartment building captured the child leaving the building lobby alone just after 4 a.m.
A family friend told reporters the child was staying at his grandmother’s apartment unit and that his actual home is nearly 20 minutes away.
“He’s a happy kid. We can’t explain why he went out the door,” said Milly Dyer. “Even if he ventured out the building, the building is locked. If he got out, he can’t get back into the building.”
Authorities say the child was not dressed for the weather outdoors, wearing boots and a shirt but no coat.
The city of Toronto is currently under an extreme cold weather alert with the temperature outside close to -30 degrees Celsius with the wind chill.
“It’s just an unspeakable tragedy. The chief told me this morning he was missing,” Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters inside Toronto police headquarters Thursday morning.“I just hope all parents across the city take all precautions so children can be safe inside their homes.”
Police had set up a command post with extra officers brought in from other divisions to help in the search.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair called called the death a tragedy when speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon.
“It’s terribly cold out, tragic set of circumstances,” Blair said. “I think every Torontonian will feel the loss.”
An online fundraiser has been set up to help cover the cost of Elijah’s funeral.