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Dublin: 19 °C Friday 14 August, 2020
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New Zealand toddler lives on leftovers for two days after mother dies

Three-year-old Shylah Silbery managed to open the fridge to feed herself after she was unable to wake her mother at their Wellington home.

Undated family photo of Shylah Silbery, 3.
Undated family photo of Shylah Silbery, 3.
Image: AP Photo/courtesy of family via The New Zealand Herald

A 3-YEAR-OLD girl comforted herself with her favourite toy and ate cheese, leftover lasagna and milk for two days after her mother died unexpectedly in their New Zealand home.

The girl’s uncle, Pete Silbery, told The Associated Press today that Shylah Silbery managed to open the fridge and comfort herself with a teddy bear named “Possum” after Lauren Silbery, 28, died.

The family last spoke to Lauren Silbery on 19 October, he said. Two days later, they were worried enough to call a friend who lived near her Wellington home. The friend could see the girl 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.

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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