Caregiver who left toddler in hot car was usually ‘very responsible,’ friend says
Published Friday, September 22, 2017 5:32AM EDT Last Updated Friday, September 22, 2017 6:47PM EDT
A Toronto caregiver accused in connection with the death of a young boy who was left inside a hot car for hours is a “very good person” who adored the children in her care, a friend of the woman says.
The boy, who police say is three years old, was found in a car parked at 299 Mill Road in Etobicoke at about 1:30 p.m. Thursday. Investigators believe he was in the vehicle for several hours. Despite fervent attempts to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards in hospital.
“She would never leave the children, not for five minutes, not for a minute in a car to go somewhere. She obviously was out of mind,” the woman said, calling the caregiver “very responsible.”
“I can tell you that she’s a really, really, very good person. If you ask any of her friends, you will see how much they love her.”
The friend said that the suspect recently lost her husband to cancer and that this weekend would mark one year since his death.
“I don’t know how she will survive this sadness. Everything that’s happening… all these accusations,” she said.
“Everything that will pass through the court will not compare with the hurt in her heart and in her mind.”
The caregiver was tasked with picking up the child in the morning and dropping him off at a daycare facility. The daycare facility is reportedly located close to where the car was parked.
A woman working in the building told CTV News Toronto that the child was found by a cleaning crew visiting the building.
Once spotted, witnesses say someone from the building smashed the windows of the vehicle and pulled the boy out along with his car seat. Paramedics and emergency crews were on the scene minutes later.
A memorial made of stuffed toys and candles started to grow at the scene overnight.
Mourners who stopped by to leave flowers and pay respects – some with their own young children – said it was hard to believe such a tragedy could happen.
“I just feel for the parents,” one passerby said. “I just can’t imagine.”
Const. David Hopkinson, a spokesperson for Toronto police, said the officers, paramedics and firefighters who attended the scene are all having a tough time dealing with the tragedy.
The accused, identified as 50-year-old Zeljna Kosovac, was charged Friday morning with criminal negligence causing death.
She appeared in court at College Park this afternoon where she was granted bail.
A post-mortem examination of the body is scheduled for Friday.
Temperatures reached a high of 27 C on Thursday, according to Environment Canada.