UPDATED: Aunt of 3-year-old who drowned in pool adds to account, thanks community for support

A 3-year-old boy drowned Sunday at the home of Lisa Thorpe, his aunt, in Santa Clara. 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. Santa Clara, Utah, May 31, 2016 | Photo courtesy of Lisa Thorpe, St. George News

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.

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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16 Comments

  • ladybugavenger May 31, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Oh no! I can’t imagine the devastation. Please everyone don’t let this continue to happen, you can’t leave your child by a pool for a minute. Don’t let this childs death be in vain and if this can be a lessen that children can be saved from drowning, do not leave your child for a second near a swimming pool.

    My condolences to the families. Extreme guilt can come with this. I suggest using your child’s death as an education for others to not experience this same tragedy. No words are going to console you but prayer works. Praying for you in the name of Jesus Amen!

  • gunnar May 31, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    He wasn’t left in the backyard. He snuck out when no one was looking. This is a terrible and tragic accident that could happen to anyone around a pool. Keep careful eye on your little ones when there is potential for them to wander off. They need to correct this story though as he was not left in the pool by himself, that is completely not what happened.

    • ladybugavenger May 31, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      For sure they need to correct it if it’s deceptive. Absolutely can happen to anyone around water, including a bath tub. Very tragic! My heart goes out to all involved. Makes the mom teaching her baby life saving water classes at 6 months not look so controversial. This is absolutely heartbreaking and I hope we don’t have more of these tragedies this summer.

    • Bob May 31, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      how do u know?

      • gunnar May 31, 2016 at 5:29 pm

        I was there.

      • Ellie May 31, 2016 at 5:57 pm

        Because he’s the little boys uncle

      • .... June 1, 2016 at 9:01 am

        Hey Bob you still got your foot in your mouth ! LOL !

    • Bob May 31, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      seem to me the writer got the info at the scene. some random anon comment cannot be used as a source.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic June 1, 2016 at 6:29 am

      Gunnar, the report was updated throughout the day reflecting input from both police and the family spokesperson. The narratives of the two differed and were so reported until our 5 p.m. update when police advised results of their further investigation that aligned with what the family spokesperson had related earlier.
      I hope that helps and our report has been updated for clarity.
      ST. GEORGE NEWS
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

  • anybody home May 31, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    What wrong with this picture?

    First, we read:
    The incident took place just after 3 p.m. Sunday, Santa Clara-Ivins Police Officer Chad Holt said, when the toddler had been playing in the shallow end of a swimming pool in the backyard of a Santa Clara residence.

    “He was being supervised. (The family member) ran inside real quick to check on something or do something, and when they came back out, they found the young boy in the pool,” Holt said, adding: “They said they were gone for about a minute, is what the family (member) said.”

    Then we read:
    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.

    So which was it?

    A very sad tragedy either way and I offer condolences, but this reporting is terrible.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic June 1, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Anybody home, the report was updated throughout the day reflecting input from both police and the family spokesperson. The narratives of the two differed and were so reported until our 5 p.m. update when police advised results of their further investigation that aligned with what the family spokesperson had related earlier.
      I hope that helps and our report has been updated for clarity.
      ST. GEORGE NEWS
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

      • anybody home June 1, 2016 at 6:50 pm

        Thanks, Joyce…I’d just say that in a case like this it would be good to add something like, “There are conflicting reports about the circumstances and these are being investigated.” Then when you get the correct info, update with that.

  • debbie May 31, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    News articles always start out somewhat hazy. Hence.. updates… sucks for this poor baby. This is why I won’t get a pool unless I can fully fence and lock it in.

  • Bob June 1, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    about nothing worse than this kind of thing happening, but it seems it was no one’s fault and just a terrible thing to happen

  • Bob June 1, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    condolances to the parents and family

  • Borec June 1, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Joyce and Kim, keep up the great work. There seem to be a lot of morons out there living in glass houses, especially when a tragedy is being reported on. The difficulty of the tragedy is hard enough, let alone the hurdles of piecing the events together for the readers.

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