Death of tot in hot SUV ruled non-criminal

Edmonton police have determined that three-year-old Tsi-Tsi Chitekedza, who died Tuesday, was not left in the vehicle by a parent or guardian so no charges will be laid

3-year-old Edmonton girl died during heat wave

Girl's death ruled non-criminal

8 years ago
No charges will be laid in the death of a three-year-old who was found in a hot SUV 2:21

Edmonton police say the death of a three-year-old girl discovered unresponsive in an SUV during a heat wave was non-criminal, so no charges will be laid.

Investigators have determined that Tsi-Tsi Chitekedza, who died Tuesday, was not left in the vehicle by a parent or guardian.

Her mother, Grace Vela, told CBC News that the little girl had just returned from a nearby spray park and was playing outside the family's northeast Edmonton home Tuesday afternoon.

Grace Vela with daughter Tsi-Tsi Chitekedza, 3, who died after being found inside a vehicle during a heat wave Tuesday. (Family photo)

Vela doesn't know how the toddler got into the family vehicle parked in front of the home. The vehicle was not locked at the time.

The mother told CBC News she found her daughter inside, seemingly asleep, with her thumb in her mouth.

She began CPR, but the toddler was declared dead at hospital a little over an hour later.

"There are no words to describe this loss," Vela said Thursday.

"Her name means 'mercy' and she was very full of grace."

Vela described her daughter as the quietest of her three children. She also has a five-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son.

A memorial, held Thursday night, was attended by about 100 members of the Zimbabwean community.

Chairman of the Zimbabwe Cultural Society of Alberta and family spokesman Munya Madzinga said the community is shocked and in mourning over the death of "our little angel."

"She was a humble kid, very smart for her age," he said.

"Wherever she was present she would make everyone laugh. So I’m going to miss that and all the kids in the community who knew Tsi-Tsi, they are also going to miss that."