An Australian toddler is believed to have spent days alone with her dead mother's body in their house.
The dehydrated two-year-old was discovered by a local priest who helped a concerned neighbor gain access to the house in suburban Wagga Wagga, 286 miles southwest of Sydney, at 3:13 p.m. local time Friday, The (Sydney) Daily Telegraph reported.
The body of the mother, who has not been named, was also inside the home. The Telegraph said she was aged 36, while local newspaper, The Daily Advertiser, said she was 33.
Ambulance officers treated the girl and she was taken to Wagga Wagga Base Hospital in serious condition.
It was not immediately clear how many days the toddler had been home alone before neighbors alerted police. It was believed she had been in the house for at least three days, the Telegraph reported.
Riverina Ambulance Inspector Eamonn Purcell said, "She was quite lethargic and pale. She wasn't saying much, she wasn't displaying much emotion."
He said she was dehydrated but her blood sugar levels were good.
"It was not long after Easter so she probably had some chocolate eggs that she was eating," Purcell said, adding there were "a lot of unknowns" in the case.
He said paramedics were unsure how long the girl had been left alone, but some neighbors suggested her mother died up to five days before she was found.
A local resident, Kim Beaumont, told the Advertiser that she had seen the mother hanging washing on her clothes line three days before the discovery.
It is understood the child has been discharged from hospital and is now in the care of family, the Telegraph reported.
Church of Christ Pastor Ross Brinkman said the woman was a much loved member of the church and she and her daughter lived alone in the house.
"I received a phone call from one of our parishioners alerting me that she had not turned up to events," Brinkman said. "I went around to investigate and that's when we made the discovery."
Brinkman said the woman's daughter would be well cared for within the community.
A report will be prepared for the coroner.