Elijah Marsh, 3, was pronounced dead shortly after authorities located him. He was reportedly huddled up to an air conditioner unit just 1,000 feet away from where he got locked out of his family’s apartment. He may have spent up to six hours in frigid temperatures.
“No, no, no,” Elijah’s grandmother said through tears on Thursday afternoon. Longtime family friend Milli Dyer told the Canadian Press that the Elijah was “very energetic and runs around all over the place.”
Hundreds of people had volunteered to help find the boy when his family awoke to find him gone. Police wept as they carried his body to an ambulance, the New York Daily News reports.
A crowd-funding site has been set up to help Elijah’s family with funeral costs. So far, $146,000 in donations have rolled in from more than 3,000 people.
The community is in mourning, and other parents are finding the news hard to fathom. Pratatban Thurairajah, from the city’s west end, was one of volunteers who helped search for the boy after hearing about the incident on the radio.
“I decided to come down to look for him, trying to find him,” Thurairajah said. “I wanted to find the boy — trying to do my part.”