A 50-year-old Toronto woman was charged Friday with causing the death of a child in her care after allegedly leaving him alone in a car for several hours on a sweltering day.
While police had described the woman as a nanny at one point, they said later that her exact role was not clear. Toronto police Const. David Hopkinson said the woman was tasked with dropping the four-year-old boy off at a care facility the day he died.
Hopkinson said the boy was discovered inside a car parked in the west end of Toronto early afternoon on Thursday when the outside temperature was around 26 degrees Celsius.
He said a passing citizen noticed the child inside the car, became concerned because of the temperature, and broke a window to check on his condition.
Police said the child was rushed to hospital unconscious, but later died.
Hopkinson said it's too early to say whether the heat inside the car caused the child's death, but said the case serves as a stark reminder of the perils of hot vehicles.
"We have a very hot start to our fall season," he said. "It's is a horrible reminder ... why it is so important not to leave kids or pets in a car unattended."
Hopkinson said police are still investigating the case to determine how the child came to be left in the car rather than dropped off at his destination.
He said the child had been in the vehicle for "several hours," but could not offer a more specific length of time.
Hopkinson said an autopsy being performed Friday will determine the exact cause of death. The child's name was not released.
Zeljna Kosovac appeared in court Friday charged with one count of criminal negligence causing death, and was released on $5,000 bail.
Hopkinson said Kosovac had a connection to the boy's family, but said the specific nature of the role she played in the boy's life was not yet known.
"She picks up the child in the morning," he said. "I believe she takes the child to another care facility, then picks him up again and takes him home. I don't know what other responsibilities, if any, she has."