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Online campaign raises close to $65K for funeral of 3-year-old Toronto boy

Elijah Marsh, 3, is shown in an undated police handout photo. An online campaign has been started to raise money for the funeral of a three-year-old Toronto boy who died after freezing in the bitter cold outdoors. Elijah Marsh walked away from a north-end apartment building early Thursday and was found about six hours later in the corner of a nearby backyard.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Toronto Police
February 20, 2015 - 9:46 AM

TORONTO - Donations are flooding in to an online campaign to raise money for the funeral of a three-year-old boy who died after wandering away from a Toronto apartment into the bitter cold.

Elijah Marsh walked out of the building early Thursday and was found about six hours later in the corner of a nearby backyard. He was rushed to hospital and police announced his death several hours later.

Justin Kozuch says he started the fundraising campaign on Tilt.com because as the father of a three-year-old son, the tragedy really hit home.

His post on the site asks people to help raise some much-needed funds to cover the cost of Elijah's funeral, adding "every dollar matters" and any donation is greatly appreciated.

As of 10:30 a.m. Friday, more than $64,000 had already been raised.

The 36-year-old Toronto resident says the response has been "truly amazing" and says Tilt.com is waiving all credit card fees for those who contribute.

"The death of this child must be truly devastating to the family and friends of Elijah, the many members of the law enforcement and medical community in Toronto, as well as the countless Torontonians who helped search for him, spread the message of his disappearance and prayed for his safe return," Kozuch said in his posting on the Tilt site.

Some contributors shared their thoughts after making a donation.

"This broke my heart," said Jennifer Yearwood. "It's least I could do for that sweet little boy, Elijah."

"The generosity of people in times of such great loss and tragedy are heartwarming," said Dawn MacDonald. "God bless Elijah. You are now with the Angels dear little man."

Security camera video showed Elijah, dressed only in a shirt, diaper and winter boots, pushing his way through two doors and leaving his grandmother's apartment building at about 4 a.m. Thursday when temperatures had fallen to about -20 C.

Family members, who notified police of his disappearance at about 7:30 a.m., said they had put him to bed Wednesday night and woke up to find him gone and the front door open, police said.

Officers on horseback, foot and in a helicopter searched for him, and police asked neighbours to search their yards, hallways and stairwells for the missing youngster.

Police Chief Bill Blair called it "a tragic set of circumstances."

 

TORONTO BOY, 3, FOUND FROZEN AFTER WANDERING OUTSIDE DIES

A surveillance camera caught an image of Elijah moments before he wandered outside into -20 C weather.
A surveillance camera caught an image of Elijah moments before he wandered outside into -20 C weather.
Image Credit: CP

TORONTO - A three-year-old boy who wandered outside dressed only in a shirt and diaper died Thursday hours after being found frozen in the bitter cold, authorities said.

Police said Elijah had disappeared from a north-end apartment of a family member overnight. Two volunteers, who were part of a massive search by police and the public, found the boy tucked away in the corner of the backyard of a nearby home without vital signs.

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.

"You see the picture of that beautiful little boy with a nice smile and the video of the child going out into the cold ... it really is a tragic set of circumstances," Chief Bill Blair said.

Elijah's grandmother sobbed and hugged friends as she left her apartment Thursday afternoon.

"No, no, no," was all she could say through tears.

Her long-time friend and neighbour, Millie Dyer, said the family was distraught.

"He's very energetic and runs around all over the place," Dyer said moments before hearing of the boy's death.

"He's a very smart little boy."

Dyer said Elijah, whom she called "sweet," was over at his grandmother's place all the time and has two aunts who also live in the same apartment complex.

"When his mom has to work, Elijah is here. And he goes to daycare just down the street," Dyer said.

Family members, who notified police of his disappearance at about 7:30 a.m., said they had put him to bed Wednesday night and woke up to find him gone and the front door open, police said.

Officers on horseback, foot and in a helicopter searched for him , and police asked neighbours to search their yards, hallways and stairwells for the missing youngster.

"Obviously the police response was aggressive and massive," Insp. Frank Barredo said.

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."

It's not the first time a youngster has wandered out into the cold and died.

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.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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