ST. GEORGE — A 7-year-old boy with autism who was discovered at the bottom of a motel swimming pool in St. George Monday has died, authorities confirmed Wednesday.
Aiden Andrew Nuzzo, of St. George, was flown from Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City after authorities discovered the boy at the bottom of the Sands Motel swimming pool located at 581 E. St. George Blvd.
Officers responded to a lost child report early Monday morning at the Coronada Inn and Suites, 559 E. St. George Blvd., where Aiden Nuzzo and his mother, Celia Farr Nuzzo, had temporarily been living.
Aiden Nuzzo had reportedly slipped out of the motel room while his mother was sleeping.
Celia Nuzzo told police that her nonverbal son liked water, so officers immediately began checking nearby swimming pools, St. George Police Officer Lona Trombley said.
Approximately 10 minutes later, an officer found Aiden Nuzzo at the bottom of an outdoor swimming pool at a nearby motel, less than 100 feet from his motel room.
Officers began resuscitation efforts until medical personnel arrived and transported Aiden Nuzzo to Dixie Regional Medical Center. When a pulse was established, Aiden Nuzzo was flown via Life Flight to Primary Children’s Hospital where he reportedly died late Tuesday night.
A GoFundMe account – that had raised $1,762 by 48 people in two days as of Thursday evening – was established by a family friend Tuesday to help Celia Nuzzo with her son’s medical expenses as well as to “help Celia get back on her feet” after falling on troubled times.
According to family friends, Celia Nuzzo suffered the loss of her husband, Steven Andrew Nuzzo, 32, of Cedar City, after he committed suicide May 3. The couple was reportedly separated at the time of his death.
Celia Nuzzo and her son were living in a short-term women’s crisis center before being kicked out when they reached the maximum number of days allowed there, Celia Nuzzo’s friend, NiCole Hembury, wrote on the GoFundMe website. The mother and her son were staying at the motel while trying to find affordable housing when the swimming pool tragedy occurred.
A week and a half prior to her son’s drowning, Celia Nuzzo was arrested for possession of marijuana and a felony charge of exposing her child to drug activity, according to Utah Court documents. Five days after being released from jail, Celia Nuzzo’s child was found at the bottom of the pool.
According to a probable cause statement filed by the St. George Police Department, the mother and her son had been living with Celia Nuzzo’s father-in-law, who reported the drug activity to police after picking Aiden Nuzzo up from a summer school program on July 27.
When the grandfather dropped his grandson off, Celia Nuzzo and her boyfriend were allegedly smoking marijuana on a back patio, and continued to do so while playing with the 7-year-old boy, the arresting officer wrote in the sworn statement.
When questioned, Celia Nuzzo allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana but told police she had stopped smoking just before her son came home, according to court documents.
Celia Nuzzo was released from police custody Aug. 3 on $5,000 bail. She is scheduled to appear in 5th District Court Aug. 22 on the drug-related charges.
Update Oct. 15: According to court records, on Sept. 19, Celia Nuzzo pleaded guilty to reduced charges stemming from her arrest on July 27 – prior to her son’s drowning – including the following: Causing or permitting a child to be exposed to a controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor, for which she was sentenced to a suspended term of 364 days; and possession or use of a controlled substance, a Class B misdemeanor, for which she was sentenced to a suspended term of 180 days. She was also ordered to pay fines totaling $3,500, $2,500 of which was suspended, with $1,000 payable over time, and placed on private supervised probation for 18 months.
The Washington County Attorney did not find charges appropriate against Celia Nuzzo in connection with her son’s drowning.
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