Toddler dies following choking incident

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Columbia police and EMS personnel responded about 10:40 a.m. last Wednesday to the report of a male toddler believed to be choking at Carrot Patch Day Care Center, 252 Veterans Parkway. 

The 17-month-old boy, identified as Sawyer Matthew Kanofsky of Waterloo, was rushed by ambulance to Mercy Hospital South in St. Louis County, where he was pronounced deceased that afternoon.

“It’s a very sad tragedy,” Columbia Deputy Chief of Police Jason Donjon said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. We are here to help if they need anything.”

Donjon said he drove the ambulance to the hospital to help expedite transport since multiple EMS personnel were focused intently on medical efforts at the scene.

An official cause of death was pending autopsy results, Donjon said.

Carrot Patch owner Angela Briggs said it is a difficult time for the day care center.

“The Carrot Patch staff are all overwhelmed with grief and heartbroken for the family,” Briggs said.

Funeral services for Sawyer, the son of Bryan and Mary (nee Free) Kanofsky, take place Jan. 30 at Immaculate Conception Church in Columbia. 

For the full obituary, click here.

A fund was created by the family in honor of Sawyer to be donated in his name to the Columbia Police Department, Columbia EMS and the Mercy South Emergency Department. To donate to the fund, click here.

“For those who have been asking what you can do during these times, the family would like to honor Sawyer by supporting those who gave everything they could to save the brightest light of our lives and to those who selflessly chose to be with us on our worst day,” Sawyer’s uncle, Steve Free, posted on the GoFundMe page. “Please help us keep his light shining.”

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