A 2 1/2-year-old girl died in the emergency room of Rhode Island Hospital Friday after apparently wandering from her home in subfreezing weather, officials said.

Jennifer Peters of Middletown died at 9:06 a.m., eight hours after police found her partially beneath a car near her home, officials said. Her body was turned over to a medical examiner to confirm the cause of death, hospital spokesman Rick Piester said.Peters arrived at Rhode Island Hospital from Newport Hospital at 2:56 a.m. and emergency medical personnel worked for six hours trying to raise her body temperature to save her, Piester said.

The child went to bed at 9:30 p.m. Thursday and was noticed missing by her mother, Cheryl, shortly after midnight. The mother called authorities at 12:28 a.m. and police and fire department crews immediately began searching.

A patrolman found the girl about 12:45 a.m. partially beneath a car that was across the street and about 300 feet from the Peters' Maplewood Road home. Lt. Edward Tracy said the child may have thought she could escape the bitter cold by crawling beneath the vehicle.