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Mourners visit Elijah memorial from all over GTA

By Shawn Jeffords, Toronto Sun

TORONTO - 

A makeshift memorial continued to grow in tribute to Elijah Marsh, as friends, neighbours and complete strangers from across the GTA arrived to pay tribute to the three-year-old boy who died in the extreme cold Thursday.

 

Elijah died Thursday morning after wandering away from his a relative’s Neptune Drive apartment around 4 a.m., wearing nothing but a T-shirt, pull-up diapers and a pair of boots. The frantic search for him and the announcement of his death stunned and saddened the city and drew emotional reactions from across Canada.

“He was a very sweet little boy,” said Jessica Goodnoh, a friend of the family. “He was very adorable and very loving. It’s sad, it’s very hard.”

Goodnoh described Elijah as a shy boy who stuck close to family, but was very much a part of the community around the North York apartment complex.

“He was a very cute little boy,” she said. “There are no words to really explain what this is like.”

Visitors shuttled in and out of the Neptune Dr. apartment but the family continued to ask for privacy, making no statements to media.

Toronto Police were also at the apartment complex again Friday to talk with Marsh’s family. Const. Victor Kwong said the investigation into the boy’s death is continuing.

“In this case, to date, there is no foul play suspected,” Kwong said.

Meanwhile, outside the apartment a steady stream of mourners came by to pay their respects. Liza, whose son Jezreel, went to daycare with Elijah, described him a very “jolly” boy who was always smiling. She came out to offer her condolences.

“He was a very typical three-year-old, just like my son,” Liza said. “Very curious. I was devastated to hear this.”

Lynda and her husband drove from Vaughan to offer support and condolences to the family.

“It’s just very emotional to be here. It brings the reality to life,” Lynda said. “You see it on TV does touch you, but to be here is very emotional. It brought me to tears. I hope that the out-pouring of love and support will sustain his family.”

Crystal Mclean came to the memorial to spend a quiet minute thinking about Elijah and her own child.

“I would not even know what to feel,” she said. “This is just such a sad moment. I feel really bad for his family, everyone who this affects.”

“This could happen to anyone. It’s a warning to everyone. You just need to take precautions, put locks on the doors, because these little ones … he didn’t know he was doing anything wrong. He stumble out here and it cost him his life. It’s so sad.”

Ralph Michele, a resident of the building, dropped off a small stuffed toy at the memorial. The father a two-year-old boy, said he was just coming from Home Depot were he bought another latch for his apartment door.

“No one could survive this cold,” he said. “You can’t understand anything like this. It’s a reality check. I’m going to put (the latch) on so even if my son gets to a chair, he can’t reach it. I have to do this as a Dad. It’s up to me to protect my kids.”

A building resident who did not give her name but said she knew Marsh’s family, came out to the memorial, and said a short prayer early Friday morning. She began to cry.

“He’s an angel now,” she said.