A devastated couple are paying tribute to their “mischievous, beautiful baby” after the 14-month-old Aussie toddler mysteriously died, leaving her family heartbroken and confused.
Rosie Evans was a “beacon of light” for her parents Lucy, 30, and 26-year-old Luke — who met his partner just two days after moving from the UK to Australia in 2018.
The pair, who are also parents to Harry, 9, and three-year-old Ella, told Yahoo News Australia they had been spending the last year “soaking up” their time as a family of three after moving to Albury, NSW, to be close to Lucy’s relatives.
“I honestly think the last year has been the best ever for our whole family,” Lucy said, adding the couple had hoped to have three children. “She really made a positive impact. She changed our lives,” she said of Rosie.
Tragically, the young family’s serenity was ripped apart earlier this month when Luke went to wake up the 14-month-old toddler, only to find Rosie had died in her bed overnight.
'Worst scream I've ever heard'
“Being in daycare and with it being winter, Ella and Rosie consistently had colds,” Lucy said. “And about a month ago they both had Covid and then RSV (respiratory virus) so their little immune systems were just shot.”
When her health improved, Rosie had her immunisations, during which the doctor warned she could develop a measles rash in the weeks following.
“She did get a rash,” Luke told Yahoo News Australia. “But it went away pretty quickly and then a month after the immunisation, she passed.”
The day before she died, Lucy spoke to Rosie’s paediatrician and stayed home to take care of the “super lethargic” toddler, hoping whatever bug she had would once again pass. Despite throwing up a little that evening, Rosie settled into bed easily on August 11 but never woke up again.
“We woke up on Saturday and Luke went into Rosie’s room and I heard the worst scream I’ve ever heard in my life,” an emotional Lucy recalled.
Couple search for answers about daughter's death
The mum of three said she immediately shut down and called her mum while pacing the couple’s bedroom saying “this isn’t real, this isn’t real”. Luke called Triple-0 for help as he tried to resuscitate their youngest child. “I thought she had choked on her own vomit,” the heartbroken dad said.
After paramedics arrived, they broke the horrific news Rosie “was gone”. Given the toddler’s shocking and unexplained death, police also attended the scene and her body was sent to the coroner for an autopsy.
On Thursday, the couple said the coroner told them fluid was found around Rosie’s stomach and brain, but they won’t have the full results until an examination of her brain is complete.
Following her passing, Luke and Lucy took Harry and Ella to the hospital in Albury for a thorough check-up. This week they were told Ella had tested positive for a virus that can cause viral meningitis so they’re “thinking that may be what happened”.
“If we get an answer it won’t make it easier, but it will help,” Luke said.
Parents honour 'beautiful soul'
Although what happened to Rosie was “very rare”, the parents said they are determined to create a legacy for their daughter and remember her for the joy she brought everyone.
“She was a beautiful soul, so happy. She was such a little character. We all absolutely adored her,” Luke said, adding that she made an impact on everyone, especially the staff at Green Leaves Early Learning centre in Albury, who he said “have been terrific”.
Family members have created a GoFundMe page to help the family pay for Rosie’s funeral as well as household bills while the family takes time off work to heal.
The couple said they also want to share their story to educate other parents so they don’t go through the same “horrendous” loss. “I thought I had felt pain before, but this is the worst that we can ever go through,” Lucy said.
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