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New Zealand toddler survives 2 days alone after mom dies

Published November 4, 2011 9:50 am

Little survivor • The girl ate leftover food, comforted herself with her teddy bear.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Wellington, New Zealand • A 3-year-old girl, alone for two days after her mother died unexpectedly in their New Zealand home, lived on cheese, leftover lasagna and milk and comforted herself with her teddy bear.

The girl's uncle, Pete Silbery, told The Associated Press on Friday that the family last spoke to the mother, Lauren Silbery, on Oct. 19. Two days later, they were worried enough to call a friend who lived near the 28-year-old's Wellington home. The friend could see Lauren's daughter, Shylah, inside the home, but not the mother, prompting the family to call police, Pete Silbery said.

Police coaxed Shylah to drag a coffee table to the door so she could reach the lock and unlock the door, before she told them, "Mummy won't wake up," Silbery said.

"I can only imagine her in there for that long, trying to wake Mum up as well," he said.

Silbery said Shylah endured the two days alone by finding food in the refrigerator and holding her teddy bear, named "Possum."

Shylah spent several days in a hospital recovering from dehydration and diaper rash.

"She's doing OK now. She's still bubbly," he said. "When we lowered the coffin into the grave at the cemetery, though, she pointed at it and said, 'Mummy's in there.' It was pretty heartbreaking."

Authorities are awaiting the results of an autopsy but don't believe Lauren Silbery's death was suspicious, Wellington police spokesman Victoria Davis said.






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