NEWPORT, N.H. (CBS) — Police in Newport, New Hampshire are investigating the death of a 2 1/2-year-old girl found outside of a Maple Street home in bitter cold weather.

“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.

A neighbor would later report hearing what sounded like crying at 4 a.m. but 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.

Her mother, Courtney VanSchoick, said the girl’s name was Sofia.

As he left flowers Monday night, neighbor Keith Dee was almost in tears. “Usually I take a midnight stroll to go to the store and I felt like I could have done something it’s just you know weighing on me,” Keith Dee said.

VanSchoick had just moved into the place with her twin son and daughter and a family member says she’d already spoken with the landlord about changing the door lock because it was too easy to open.

“I don’t blame her for anything,” said neighbor James Dee. “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.”

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

Comments (3)
  1. Michelle M. Fitzgerald says:

    Wait, you mean when you hear a child crying outside at 4 am you just take a look and go back to bed? Of course you’re not going to see them! It’s pitch black out. Call the damn police!

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