SYDNEY - An Australian two-year-old spent up to five days home alone with the body of her dead mother, according to officials who said Monday she may have survived on chocolate Easter eggs.
The severely dehydrated child was found on Friday after neighbours raised the alarm, leading to the discovery of the body of a woman in her 30s in a house in Wagga Wagga, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) southwest of Sydney.
"She was quite lethargic and pale. She wasn't saying much, she wasn't displaying much emotion," regional Ambulance Inspector Eamonn Purcell said of the toddler.
Authorities admit there are many unknowns in the case, including how the mother died, but while the girl was dehydrated her blood sugar levels were good.
"It was not long after Easter so she probably had some chocolate eggs that she was eating," Purcell told reporters.
Police and paramedics who treated the girl were unable to say how long she may have been alone but reports said that neighbours believed it could have been up to five days.
"You've got to feel for this two-year-old who might have been alone days and nights in this house," Purcell said.
The child was taken to hospital in a serious condition but had since improved.
Police said they were preparing a report for the coroner and the cause of the woman's death had not yet been determined.