Barely-dressed toddlers found outside in freezing temperatures in Oshawa, Ont.

·Crime Contributor
Elijah Marsh funeral costs aided by Toronto crowdfunder

Keeping children inside where it’s warm seems to be hard to do this winter in southern Ontario.

For at least the second time this winter, charges have been laid after children were found outside wandering around in the freezing temperatures.

Police in Oshawa announced today a man has been charged after three toddlers, all under the age of three, were found outside a home in the cold Sunday morning when it was hovering around the freezing point.

“Officers responded after reports of two young children, aged one and two years old, outside a residence on Phillip Murray Avenue. One was on the street and the other on the driveway. A third child, aged three, was exiting the residence. The children were barely dressed, with one of them wearing only a diaper,” Oshawa police said in a news release Monday.

Police said the residence was a complete mess inside, where they found a man asleep on a sofa.

“There was very little food and the environment was completely unfit for children to be living in,” police said.

The children are now in the care of the Children’s Aid Society.

The man – whose name cannot be released to protect the identity of the children – faces three counts of ‘parent not providing necessaries of life.

Police are asking neighbours who may have any information on the case to contact Det. Arnott of the Major Crime Sexual Assault Unit at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5334. Anyone with information can also leave it anonymously at Durham Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at www.durhamregionalcrimestoppers.ca.

Last month, a three-year-old boy who wandered outside in just a shirt and diaper died just hours after being found frozen in the bitter cold.

Police said Elijah Marsh had disappeared from a north-end Toronto apartment of a family member overnight, Canadian Press reported on Feb. 19.

The child was found by volunteers who were part of a massive search by police and the public.

Security camera video showed Elijah pushing his way through two doors of the building at about 4 a.m. Temperatures had fallen to about -20 C. He was found about six hours later.

Hundreds of people turned out for his funeral.

No charges were laid in that case.

Toronto police did lay charges against the mother of a four-year-old boy after the child was found wandering outside in the bitter cold on Feb. 20 in the city’s west end.

The 23-year-old woman is facing a charge of abandonment of a child under the age of 10.

The boy was found in the afternoon at Lake Shore Boulevard West and Twelfth Street in Etobicoke on a day when the temperature was below -14 C.

Similar cases over the years have resulted in a number of child deaths, the Canadian Press reported recently.

  • In February 1994, 2-1/2-year-old Karlee Kosolofski was discovered frozen at the door to her home in Rouleau, Sask. Her body temperature was just 14.2 degrees. She had wandered outside and found herself locked out in -22 C weather. Although she lost part of her leg, medical personnel were able to revive her without other ill effects.

  • In February 2001, 13-month-old Erika Nordby of Edmonton survived with frostbite after wandering into a -24 C night and ending up frozen in the snow.

  • In December 2009, a seven-year-old Nova Scotia boy died in hospital after surviving two nights lost in the frozen wilderness. James Delorey had apparently followed the family dog into the woods.

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