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Sheriff calls child drowning a tragic accident
TYLER COUNTY- A family getting ready to move into a home is planning the funeral of their three-year old son, the victim of a backyard accident that claimed his life despite the frantic efforts of relatives, a store employee and first responders to save him.
The Tyler County Sheriff called the toddler's drowning a clear-cut, tragic accident.
The events began unfolding around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Someone called 911 to report a child not breathing. The person said the child had fallen into a hole filled with water. The backyard hole was for a septic tank, part of the family's preparations to move to Warren, south of Woodville in Tyler County.
The hole was about 5 ft. deep filled with more than 3 ft. of water from recent rains.
The Tyler County Sheriff said a family member was outside with a one, two and three year old child at the home on County Road 1325. The relative took the one-year old inside, then came out, only to discover the three-year old boy missing.
Family members found the child in the water-filled hole. They began doing CPR and drove the young boy to the Dollar General in Warren to meet first responders.
An employee at the store told KFDM News she heard a woman screaming and panicking, yelling for someone to call 911. The employee ran out of the store to the back of the family's vehicle where she said the father held the little boy. The Dollar General worker grabbed the child, laid him on the grass and started CPR while the mother flagged down the ambulance at the road.
The woman said the father asked her if the baby was dead. The employee said she told him, "I don't know. I think so, but I'm not gonna give up. I'll keep giving it CPR until the ambulance gets here."
Emergency medical services took over. They did CPR and rushed the boy to Tyler County Hospital. Doctors pronounced him dead at 3:45 p.m., only one hour after the call for help.
"Even though we may not know the people involved just to know that we have the Warren family feeling that if one suffers, we all suffer with it," Troy Richardson said as he shopped at Dollar General just one day after the accident.
"It's a shame that had to happen. He had his whole life ahead of him and now it's cut short," Steve Daigle, who lives in Warren said.
"From what I understand that they were new to the area and so a lot of people in Warren are getting together, getting food for them, getting anything that they need that we can help them with," Lisa Knott, who also lives in Warren said.
The Sheriff's Office is investigating, although it said the death is a tragic accident. By law, because this involves the death of a child, they must call in Child Protective Services.
"The family's are already under tremendous burden you know, they're having a tough time even thinking, you know, what their next step is gonna be but unfortunately with law enforcement with child protective services we still have a process that we have to go through to make sure that we, you know, have everything covered," Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford said. "Right now, everything appears to be a tragic accident."
A judge has ordered an autopsy. Investigators aren't releasing the child's name until they notify other family members outside of Texas.