A two-year-old girl spent at least three days playing beside her mother's body in a Wagga Wagga home before being found on Friday.
Riverina Ambulance Inspector Eamonn Purcell, who attended the tragic scene, said the child was in a serious condition and suffering from dehydration after being forced to fend for herself for what could have been up to five days.
However, neighbours told The Daily Advertiser they saw the woman only three days beforehand.
"She [the toddler] wasn't right, she was really dehydrated and lethargic," Mr Purcell said.
"She had a high pulse, low blood pressure and she was in shock.
"Paramedics applied fluids and she was worked on pretty hard there for a little while."
Mr Purcell said the girl was dehydrated but her blood sugar levels were good.
"It was not long after Easter so she probably had some chocolate eggs that she was eating," Mr Purcell said, adding there were "a lot of unknowns" in the case.
The body of the 33-year-old-woman, whose name is yet to be released, was found in her home in Tarakan Avenue about 3pm after a concerned neighbour, who is a nun, knocked on her door to check on her whereabouts.
When no one answered, the neighbour contacted Pastor Ross Brinkman from the Church of Christ to help her gain access to the house where she found the mother and the toddler.
"As you can imagine she was without food and water for a long time," said Pastor Ross, who did not want to comment further out of respect for the family.
Police, detectives and emergency personnel were called and raced to the scene and the girl was taken to Wagga Base Hospital.
It was not long after Easter so she probably had some chocolate eggs that she was eating.
The toddler is in hospital with family and friends and is in the care of the Department of Community Services.
Yesterday, residents of the street were in shock and were coming to terms with the tragedy.
"We heard the girl crying in the house and we just thought it was her crying, you know," said one resident, who did not wish to be named.
Kim Beaumont, who lives nearby and knew the dead woman through church, said she wished she had checked on the home sooner.
She said she saw the mother hanging washing up to dry about three days before the discovery and was starting to become concerned when it remained there, untouched.
"It's awful, you always hear of other streets having this happen. We all knew them," she said.
"She was a wonderful mother, no one had any problems from her, she loved her daughter with all her heart.
"[Her daughter] was a quiet and happy child."
Pastor Ross also knew the woman through her involvement with his church and said her death was a terrible loss for the community.
"She was a much-loved part of our congregation and will be sadly missed," he said.
Police say they were not treating the incident as suspicious and a coronial report is being prepared.
The Daily Advertiser and AAP