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Scared of Fight at Home, Boy Freezes to Death on Street

A 6-year-old boy was found frozen to death in the Irkutsk region town of Cheremkhovo because he was too scared to return home following a drunken fight, investigators said Monday.

In the early hours of Monday, the boy’s parents called police when they realized their son was missing, the regional branch of the Investigative Committee said in a statement.

A team of local investigators set out to search for him, and he was found not far from home, under a tree by a neighbor’s fence.

There were no traces of violence on the boy’s body, and a postmortem examination will be carried out, but preliminary observations show that the likely cause of death was hypothermia, Interfax reported.

According to a preliminary investigation, the mother of the boy got caught up in an argument with a female acquaintance who arrived at the house drunk. The quarrel woke up the boy, and he apparently heard his mother accuse the guest of stealing money from the family and saw the guest strike his mother with an ax.

The father and the boy’s 1-year-old sister slept through the din.

The boy then ran out onto the street. Too frightened to return home, he fell asleep outside and froze, Vladimir Salovarov, a representative of the Investigative Committee, said in a statement.

Salovarov also said that the adult members of the family are heavy drinkers and that it was not unusual for drunken fights to break out. He emphasized that the preliminary investigation was still under way but that a criminal case would follow.

It was not immediately clear who might be charged over the boy’s death and what the charges might be. The daughter is being looked after by relatives.

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