A little boy spent at least a day with the body of his dead father in a north Edmonton basement apartment, until paramedics discovered him Thursday night.

The boy, believed to be between five and sevenyears old,and his father were regular customers at a Petro-Canada at 118 Avenue and 97 Street.

Staff at the gas station's store told CBC News that boy came to the store to buy soft drinks and a sandwich on Tuesday andtold cashiers his father was ill.

Armina Seetram said the father was dedicated to caring for his child.

"When we told him once that we could clean him up and find him a nice girlfriend, he's like: 'I don't need one, all I really need is this young man here,'" sherecalled.

Authoritieswere asked to check the apartment when the child didn't show up for school. Paramedics found the father dead in his bed and contacted police.

"It was certainly a man who wanted better for his child in the future and who knew what he had to do, which is he made him go to school every day. And I suspect that's how they knew something was wrong," said Seetram.

'He's a bright little guy. He just knew his daddy was sick.' -Sgt. Tom Pallas

Sgt. Tom Pallas told the Edmonton Journal theboy heard his dad coughing on Wednesday night, which is when he likely died.

"He's a bright little guy. He just knew his daddy was sick," Pallas told the newspaper.

"I haven't spent enough time with him to know if he grasps whether his daddy's not with us anymore or not. But we're going to take him to social services and make sure he has appropriate counselling."

The boy's mother had been dead for several years.

The child is now in custody of Alberta Children's Services. Officials said they have already received offers of adoption.