Toronto Star

Mar. 6, 2003. 05:25 AM

Girl, 3, found in snow

TORONTO STAR STAFF
Toronto Star

A 33-year-old mother of two has been charged with child abandonment after her 3-year-old daughter wandered out of a Brampton townhouse yesterday afternoon wearing no shoes and just a thin nightgown.

Police received a call about 2 p.m. from the building superintendent after the girl reportedly walked about 75 metres across the snowy ground outside the complex.

The girl, her mother and 9-year-old brother, who was at school during the incident, had only moved into the five-building complex near North Park Dr. and Dixie Rd. a few days ago.

Police arrived shortly after the call came in, but they were unable to find the girl's mother. Four hours later the woman came home. Police said the woman was out running errands.

Building resident Paul Beelien said his 10-year-old son was playing with friends and saw the young girl before she was rescued. The girl was reportedly crying.

"The weather conditions at the time, the danger the child was put in, anything could have happened," said Detective David Neville of the Peel police child abuse and sexual assault unit. "It doesn't take much to turn on a stove and start a fire."

The girl was taken to William Osler Health Centre in Brampton to ensure she had not suffered either hypothermia or frostbite.

The girl and her brother are now in the care of the children's aid society.

Copyright © 1996-2003. Toronto Star Newspapers Limited.