Boy, 3, found dead in abandoned pool
Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 at 1:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 at 6:29 p.m.
After an extensive search, authorities Friday afternoon located the body of a 3-year-old boy who had wandered from his southwest Gainesville home that morning and apparently fell into an abandoned swimming pool filled with water so dark and murky that divers had to be called to find the boy's body.
Demetrius Powers' uncle reported him missing at about 11:42 a.m Friday, said Alachua County Sheriff's Office spokesman Art Forgey. Demetrius had been playing in front of his family residence at 517 SW 67th Terrace in the Cedar Ridge subdivision when he and a 4-year old playmate wandered near the abandoned pool, Forgey said.
Upon arriving, Sheriff's Office personnel began searching for Demetrius. They set up a roadblock and searched all vehicles leaving the area. Bloodhounds also were brought in and immediately tracked Demetrius' scent to the edge of the pool. A small child's sandal also was found on the deck, which the family identified as belonging to Demetrius.
K-9 Deputy Lloyd Quinn jumped into the black water in hopes of finding the child. Chest deep in water and debris, Quinn had to abandon the mission and await the arrival of a dive team.
Divers found the boy's body in the pool at about 2 p.m.
Neighbors, many of whom were standing outside by that time, erupted in tears.
“It's just a sad day,” said neighbor Elizabeth Latson. “The little boy was bright, a very smart little 3-year-old.”
At one time, Latson said, she presided over the neighborhood watch and pleaded with property managers to seal off the abandoned pool, citing it as a hazard to the many small children in the development.
The pool is surrounded by a fence, but on Friday afternoon multiple openings could be seen.
“The pool was drained, and it was sealed off,” said Catherine Banta, property manager for Banta Properties. “It has rained quite a lot in the past few days, so it was filled with rainwater.”
Neighbors told The Sun that Demetrius is the second child to drown in the pool, although this could not be confirmed through ASO records.
“If a child did not die right away, but was pronounced dead at a later time in a hospital, it would not be in our records as a drowning,” Forgey said.
The mother of the 4-year-old boy who had been playing with Demetrius said her son knew only that his playmate had fallen but did not realize he had died.
Forgey said the child protection team will be questioning the 4-year-old about the events leading up to the drowning.
At this time, foul play is not suspected, but an autopsy is being conducted, Forgey said. Toxicology results will take six to eight weeks, Forgey added.