Steamboat Springs A 3-year-old Routt County girl was listed in stable condition at Denver Children's Hospital on Thursday, one day after spending an extended period of time in sub-zero temperatures with little to protect her.
The girl, Molly Rhea Look, has sensation in her arms, legs, fingers and toes, although the girl's long-term prognosis remained unclear Thursday morning, Routt County Sheriff's Office Investigator Ken Klinger said. Members of Molly's family were unavailable for comment Thursday.
"She's not in the (Intensive Care Unit)," Klinger said. "Hospital staff are debriding the affected areas to get to her good tissues, and she has feeling in those different areas, which is a good sign."
Klinger said debriding is a technique used to slough dead skin from a burned or frostbitten area.
Klinger did not know whether the girl was going to lose any fingers, toes or appendages.
"Right now, she has everything this morning she left with (Wednesday)," he said.
Molly is thought to have wandered from her home near Routt County Roads 179 and 52E early Wednesday morning and was found in a snowbank on the side of a road by Kathleen Fitzsimmons, a passing motorist. Molly was wearing only a long-sleeved shirt.
Fitzsimmons, who lives in the area, noticed Molly in the snowbank and stopped her car to pick her up. She rushed Molly to Yampa Valley Medical Center, and Molly was then flown to Children's Hospital.
Klinger said the girl had walked 60 to 80 feet in 12 inches of snow. Molly's pants and boots apparently came off when she became tangled in a fence.
The girl's parents, Delbert "Del" and Yvette Look, did not immediately notice that the girl had left their home, Klinger said. But when they realized that neither one of them knew where the girl was, they began a frantic search of the area.
Klinger said the incident appears to be an unfortunate accident and that there's no evidence of neglect. Criminal charges are not anticipated, Klinger said.
"We found no evidence of neglect," he said. "They're apparently a good family. It's not the fault of the parents. It's just a tragic thing where this little girl had a mind of her own."
Klinger said the parents had a "slight miscommunication" as to who had the little girl, he said. On Wednesday morning, Del Look had taken the family's two older children to school while Yvette Look stayed at home. She was resting because she was sick. The family moved to the area in December where the girl's maternal grandparents live, he said.
"Apparently she had walked to (her grandparents') house before, and that's where she was going," he said. "She's a fiercely independent 3-year-old."
Klinger said officers immediately called social services because it was not immediately known how Molly made it to the road or who she belonged to.
"At that moment we had no idea how a partially naked 3-year-old girl ended up sitting on the side of the road," he said. "We were asking ourselves, 'Did she fall out of a vehicle?' or 'Did someone leave her there?'"
Had Fitzsimmons not driven by Molly Look at the time she did, the situation could have ended much worse, he said.
"It's a miracle (Fitzsimmons) came along because if she hadn't, this would have been a real tragedy," he said.
By his estimates, Molly Look had been exposed to the elements at least 25 minutes and may have been outside longer, Klinger said.
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