ST. GEORGE — A 3-year-old boy died in an apparent drowning accident while visiting with family in Santa Clara over the Memorial Day weekend.
The incident took place just after 3 p.m. Sunday, Santa Clara-Ivins Police Officer Chad Holt said in his initial report, when the toddler had been playing in the shallow end of a swimming pool in the backyard of a Santa Clara residence.
In his initial report, reconfirmed by him midday Tuesday, Holt said the officer had interviewed an adult witness at the scene who said the child was being supervised, that a family member ran inside to check on something and was gone for about a minute – a report police changed on further investigation. At 5 p.m. Tuesday, Holt said that upon further investigation police had determined that the child snuck out of the house on his own and was later found by his father.
It was a tragic accident, Holt said.
The incident happened at at the home of Lisa Thorpe, the 3-year-old’s aunt, who spoke with St. George News Tuesday on behalf of the family.
Thorpe’s family had returned home from church Sunday, she said, and people were in and out of the kitchen and family room, others changing clothes, and the boy slipped out a backdoor.
“In all that commotion, (he) slipped out of the house and fell in the pool,” she said. “We were not swimming in the pool, no one had swum in the pool.”
When his father noticed his son wasn’t in the kitchen or family room, Thorpe said, he went in the backyard, saw him in the pool and they pulled him out.
Police originally said a family member who was a nurse performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Thorpe clarified that she had begun CPR and a nurse – who was not a family member –took over.
“I am the one, I’m not a nurse, who immediately started CPR … there was someone next door who heard someone yell for help,” Thorpe said, “she’s not even a neighbor she was visiting a neighbor – she was a cardiac nurse – she immediately started chest compressions and then the paramedics came.”
The toddler was flown by Life Flight helicopter to Dixie Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
“It was a tragic thing, we are sorry it happened,” Thorpe said, describing her nephew as “a special amazing little boy that was literally loved and protected every second of his life.”
He was an adopted child with four older sisters and an older brother, she said. They’d spent all day the day before swimming in the pool with his four sisters doting on him the whole time.
“He was a perfect child in every way – sweet and funny and smiling all the time. I can’t even tell you how many people loved him and doted on him.”
Thorpe asked her gratitude be expressed to the many kind people in the community who have reached out to her family.
“The people in my neighborhood and community have been nothing but loving and poured out love and support to our family and the parents.”
The child’s parents liked to dress him in light purple, Thorpe told St. George News Tuesday. “Someone found out about this and today my yard was covered in purple bows, ribbons, flags, and balloons,” she said. “There are so many good people in this community.
View the child’s obituary and service information here.
St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this report.
UPDATED May 31, 2015, 4:45 p.m. to reflect comments from Lisa Thorpe and Chad Holt’s response to those comments. FURTHER UPDATED at 5:15 p.m. to reflect the police’s findings after further investigation. FUTHER UPDATED 6:30 p.m. with photo from Lisa Thorpe of her home adorned with purple ribbons. REVISED June 1, 5 a.m. minor edits for clarity and sequence of updated content.
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