‘Happy, smart’ toddler girl wanders outside in sub-zero temperatures, dies when she can’t get back inside her home: Reports

A 2-year-old New Hampshire girl was found dead outside Monday morning, hours after she wandered out before dawn and couldn’t gain re-entry to her family’s new apartment.

The Newport Police Department said a neighbor found Sophia Van Schoick unresponsive in front of her Maple Street home at 7:10 a.m. The neighbor, identified as Shane Rowe, told The Boston Globe that he discovered the toddler lying face-down at the bottom of some stairs located near her home’s living room window.

Van Schoick was pronounced dead at the scene. The Globe reported that the toddler had just moved into the residence with her pregnant mother and twin brother; police said the mother’s boyfriend was also at the home Monday morning.

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WMUR reported that temperatures dropped overnight to approximately eight degrees below zero.

Rowe told the news station that his girlfriend heard a little girl crying around 4 a.m. Monday. He claimed he looked outside and went to bed after not seeing anything outside. He said they discovered the dead toddler at 7 a.m. as his girlfriend went outside to start the car.

“My girlfriend came out, and she ran out and she went over and saw that she was actually a child,” Rowe said. “She banged on the door to alert the parents.”

Rowe claimed the girl’s mother wrapped her daughter in a blanket and called 911.

Meanwhile, Van Schoick’s grandfather told WMUR that his granddaughter often got up in the middle of the night to wander around. The grandfather said the family had moved into the home days earlier and suspects the toddler got disorientated before going outside.

Valley News reported that Newport police aren’t treating Van Schoick’s death as suspicious, saying it “appears to be a bad accident.” Newport Police Chief James Burroughs told the New Hampshire Union Leader that they’re awaiting an autopsy to confirm exact cause and manner of death.

“Sofia was the happiest and smartest toddler you would have ever met,” the little girl’s mother, Courtney Van Schoick, said, according to Valley News.

“She’s so loved and missed.”

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[Featured Image: Sophia Van Schoick/WMUR]