The body of a child found in a dumpster in a high-end Toronto neighbourhood was that of a young Black girl who may have died as far back as last summer, police said in a grim update Thursday.
Toronto police say the girl was likely between the ages of four to seven, of African or mixed African descent and was believed to have been left at a construction site outside a home in Rosedale between April 28 and May 2.
Homicide investigators are now working to identify the little girl, with the missing persons’ unit cross-referencing databases of missing children across the country in an effort to determine who she was.
“We are investigating this death at its highest level just like a homicide investigation,” Insp. Hank Idsinga told reporters.
“Kids don’t just die.”
Police were called to the scene in the Castle Frank Road and Dale Avenue area, north of Bloor Street East on Monday around 4:45 p.m.
That’s where they say the girl’s body was found wrapped in a crochet blanket inside a plastic bag, which too was wrapped in a colourful blanket.
Police described the girl as Black, three feet and six inches tall, with curly hair sectioned in four short ponytails, two of which were braided and tied with black and blue elastics.
A post-mortem exam was performed Wednesday, but forensic pathologists have yet to determine a cause of death, police said.
‘A very unusual circumstance’
“It’s a very unusual circumstance right now that the potential time of death could have been even earlier than last summer,” Idsinga said.
It’s unknown whether the girl was brought to the area by transit, car or on foot, Idsinga said.
Investigators are still gathering video from the two-week period in which they believe the girl’s body was placed in the dumpster. Idsinga said there are no cameras that faced the dumpster directly, but police will be looking to piece together video of the surrounding area.
Police also confirmed that the home outside of which the dumpster was found is unoccupied and under construction.
On Thursday afternoon, yellow police tape could be seen stretched across the driveway of the home where the construction dumpster had stood. A police car was parked near the home, on a residential street.
At the end of a stone path beside the home’s driveway, a pot of pink flowers had been placed with a card that read “little one, we pray heaven has dried your tears.”
Jason Conover, who lives around the corner, said he felt for whoever found the remains.
“To find a child abandoned must have been awful for the person who did,” he said.
Anyone with information or video surveillance of the area, including dash-camera video, or who recognizes the blankets or the girl’s description is being urged to immediately contact police by calling 416-808-5300 or to leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 416-222-TIPS (8477).