The body of a child found in a Rosedale dumpster was that of a young black girl who may have been dead since last summer, police said in a grim update Thursday.
Toronto police said the girl was likely between the ages of four and seven, of African or mixed ancestry and believed to have been left in the area between April 28 and May 2.
Homicide investigators are now working to identify the little girl, with the missing persons unit cross-checking databases of missing children across the country in a bid to determine who she was.
“We are investigating this death at its highest level, just like a homicide investigation,” said Insp. Hank Idsinga told reporters.
“Children don’t just die.”
Toronto police were called to the scene in the area of Castle Frank Road and Dale Avenue, north of Bloor Street East around 4:45 p.m. Monday.
This is where they say the girl’s body was found wrapped in a crocheted blanket inside a plastic bag, which was also wrapped in a colorful blanket.
Police described the girl as black, three feet six inches tall, with curly hair cut into four short ponytails, two of which were braided and tied with black and blue rubber bands.
A post-mortem examination was conducted on Wednesday, but medical examiners have yet to determine the cause of death, police said.
“It is a very unusual circumstance at this time that the potential time of death could have been even earlier than last summer,” Idsinga said.
It is unclear whether the girl was brought to the area in transit, by 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 were no cameras directly facing the dumpster, but police will seek to reconstruct video of the surrounding area.
Police have also confirmed that the house outside which the dumpster was found is unoccupied and under construction.
Anyone with information or video surveillance of the area, including dash cam video, or who recognizes the covers or description of the girl is urged to contact police immediately by calling 416-808-5300 or leave an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 416-222-CONSEILS (8477).