RCMP investigating sudden death of toddler on Vancouver Island near Tofino, B.C.

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RCMP are investigating after a toddler died suddenly on Vancouver Island, according to a statement released Tuesday.

The two-year-old child was injured in the Ty Histanis community near Tofino, B.C., on Dec. 13. The toddler died Dec. 16.

The RCMP did not provide further information on the circumstances of the child's death, but said "other children from the residence have been temporarily placed in other residences while this investigation is taking place."

"This is a tragic situation affecting many people in the community, including family, friends, first responders and medical personnel," said Supt. Sanjaya Wijayakoon of the RCMP's major crimes section.

"This investigation is in its preliminary stages, and is expected to be a long, thorough and involved process."

The Ministry of Children and Family Development issued a statement Tuesday that said, "this is a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the child's family and community."

A ministry spokesperson said no further comments would be made at this time because of privacy laws, but said a preliminary analysis is carried out to determine if an in-depth review is appropriate.

The B.C. Coroner's Service is also investigating.

Community in mourning

Ty-Histanis is one of three primary communities within the territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation. Fewer than 400 people live in Ty-Histanis and the adjacent community, Esoswista.

The Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation has been limiting visitors to the small community to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Chief Councillor Moses Martin said the past few days have been difficult for people to deal with.

"We've had two deaths. One to COVID and then the young child the day before so the community is reeling and very hurt."