Toddler found dead in sub-zero temps in New Hampshire

NEWPORT, N.H. (WMUR/CNN) – Police say a toddler was found dead outside of her home in New Hampshire.

The child apparently got out of her house in the middle of the night as temperatures dropped below zero.

Shane Rowe found the body. He explained, “I saw a little girl next to the bottom of the stairway. I said to myself, ‘I hope that’s a doll.’”

But it wasn’t. Instead it turned out to be a 2 and-a-half-year-old girl. Police say that the toddler apparently got out of the house overnight as temperatures were below zero.

Rowe said he and his girlfriend were woken up early in the morning. “My girlfriend actually heard a little girl crying about 4:00.”

But Rowe said they couldn’t see anything, so they went back to bed. Then around 7:00 a.m.—when his girlfriend went out to start the cars—is when he saw what he was hoping was a doll.

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

Rowe said the mother scooped the child up, wrapped her in a blanket and called 911. Police say while an autopsy is scheduled for later this afternoon, but so far there is nothing suspicious.

Chief James Burroughs with the Newport Police Department said, “Right now everything appears to be consistent with exposure but again the case and the investigation is very much ongoing.”

Rowe said he can’t imagine what the mother is going through. “It’s got to be devastating. Because I know if it were my child, I would be torn apart.”

Newport police said the toddler’s name was Sophia. The family had recently moved to the area and police believe the child might have been unfamiliar with her surroundings.

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