5-year-old cancer survivor killed by empty SUV outside Toronto school
Jackie Dunham and Graham Slaughter, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, January 16, 2018 8:21AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 16, 2018 6:30PM EST
A five-year-old girl who survived a cancer diagnosis died Monday after an empty SUV rolled into her and pinned her against her family’s car while her father picked her up from school.
Camila de Almeida Torcato, a senior kindergarten student at St. Raphael Catholic School in North York, was leaving school at approximately 3:20 p.m. on Monday when she was struck by a rolling SUV without a driver in it, Toronto police said.
The young girl and her father were getting into their parked Mercedes-Benz SUV when an unoccupied Hyundai Sante Fe SUV rolled into them, pinning them both against the Mercedes, police said.
A mother had parked the Hyundai further up the street and got out to walk across the street towards the school, CTV Toronto’s Austin Delaney reported. It’s unclear if the gear was engaged or if there was a mechanical problem that caused the vehicle to move, he said.
The girl was rushed to Sick Kids Hospital with critical injuries and died a few hours later. Her 42-year-old father was also struck by the rolling SUV and was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to police.
Camila was diagnosed with cancer at the age of three, said those who know the family. Doctors removed a tumour in the little girl’s kidney, and she was in remission.
Family friend Ana Paula Carrera said Camila’s family is devastated by the loss, and described the child as “beautiful inside and out.”
“She has a beautiful soul, a beautiful heart,” Carrera said.
A makeshift memorial with flowers and stuffed animals grew Tuesday outside the school. One young boy was seen placing a teddy bear at the vigil and making a sign of the cross.
An online fundraiser has since been launched to support Camila’s family.
“This family is going through very difficult times, and it’s right now the only way that we can think of helping,” said Carrera, who founded the page.
Investigators have seized the SUV and are looking to determine what may have caused the accident.
Emmy Milne, spokesperson for the Toronto Catholic District School Board, said that stretch of road is a “high traffic area” during pickup and drop-off times at the school.
A team of grief counsellors was on hand at the school on Tuesday to help students and faculty cope with the tragic news, the school board said.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of this young student. Tragedies such as this can be difficult for anyone to accept or understand, particularly for young people,” the school board said in a statement. “Students and staff plan to create a memorial table where individuals can reflect and share personal messages with the family.”
The school will also hold a memorial for the girl in the coming days, the TCDSB said.
There is no word on whether any charges will be laid as police are still investigating what happened.
With files from CTV Toronto and CP24 and The Canadian Press