New Hampshire

Family Distraught After 2-Year-Old Dies from Bitter Cold

A grieving New Hampshire grandfather is sharing his heartache with NBC10 Boston.

The toddler died after wandering out into the cold in Newport overnight Sunday. She was found Monday morning. On Tuesday, her family is talking about the loss.

"Shock, shock is what keeps us moving," said Lindsay Van Schoick.

The grandfather, was still too distraught to show his face on camera, but spoke about his 2-year-old granddaughter, Sofia.

"She was a very energetic, full of life, precocious little girl," Van Schoick said.

Van Schoick also talked about the unthinkable way she died.

"It’s just a perfect storm situation that created a tragedy," he said.

Newport Police say the toddler wandered outside her Maple Street apartment overnight Sunday and couldn’t get back in. Sofia was in only her pajamas, and temperatures were below zero.

"She was obviously looking for someone," said Van Schoick.

He said Sofia, her twin brother and their mother just moved into the apartment last week. He thinks Sofia woke up confused.

He said neighbors thought they heard something in the parking lot at 4 a.m., but nobody went outside until just before 7 a.m. Monday.

"I happened to look out that window and saw what appeared to be a doll, face down on the ground," explained neighbor Charlotte Caron.

It didn’t take long for her to realize that doll was a child.

She watched her upstairs neighbor desperately bang on the apartment door to wake Sofia's mother.

"I heard screaming, so I looked out again and I saw her coming out, grabbing the child in a blanket and bringing her inside," Caron said.

It was too late. Autopsy results showed Sofia died of hypothermia and exposure.

"It’s just really heartbreaking, it should’ve never happened," said Caron.

While the heartache is overwhelming, Sofia’s family is hoping the tragic story of their bright-eyed little girl will have a lasting impact on others.

"Hug them and love them because you never know what tomorrow is going to bring and you can never be too careful," Van Schoick said.

Police are still investigating, but they tell NBC10 Boston there likely won’t be any charges filed in this case. They believe Sofia’s death was truly a tragic accident.

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