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Two children drown in Mesa Wednesday night

April 18, 2007

Three days. Three separate incidents. Four Mesa children have died due to drowning.

On Wednesday night, two more Mesa children drowned in a pool, in what Mesa Media Relations Detective Johnny Lopez referred to as a “double tragedy.” A 1 year old girl and a 3-year-old boy were found by the girl's aunt, uncle, and a third man, just after 7 p.m. The boy was a family friend.

According to Lopez, the aunt had been watching television and lost track of time. After a while, she began to wonder where the children had gone. When she asked the two men at the home, they both were unsure. The three began to search for the children. advertisement

The boy was found floating in the pool, Lopez said. Initially, they could not locate the girl, and had to dive into the water to find her. Lopez said that after searching for some time, she was found submerged in the water.

The children were taken to a local area hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Their children's parents have not been notified as of 9 p.m.

There is a fence around the pool with a latch, but Lopez said at this point detectives are unsure how the children got into the pool area.

“As far as we can tell at this time,” Lopez said, “it appears to be a tragic accident.”

The double drowning comes on the heels of separate child drowning on both Monday and Tuesday.

Neighbors found 3-year-old Colin Keran floating in a swimming pool at an east Mesa apartment Monday morning. Colin, whose parents were in a nearby apartment at the time, gained access to the complex's pool with his 5-year-old brother through a gate that didn't latch, according to police.

Less than 30 hours later, Mesa police responded to an apartment home near Greenfield Road and University Drive where they found an unconscious 8-month-old, Cathy Marie Romero.

According to statements from the family, Cathy's mother was bathing her and three other children Tuesday afternoon when she stepped away for a moment and left the children in the care of a 15-year-old nephew, police said. Several minutes later, one of the children in the bath appeared holding Cathy's body.

Police responded to the scene within a minute, Lopez said, but were unable to save the girl.

"We can't convey enough the dangers of water, it doesn't matter if it's a pool or a half-full bucket of water," Lopez said after the second incident. "If you're dealing with small kids, please keep an eye on them. It doesn't take long." Wednesday night, Lopez said he was concerned by the “extremely high number.”

“As it becomes hotter the water will become more enticing,” he said.

Last year, 59 people, including 10 children, drowned in the Valley, in nearly 160 water-related incidents where police, fire and paramedic agencies responded. In Mesa, one child drowned in 2006, along with four adults.
Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
By Michael Struening, Lindsey Collom, and JJ Hensley
Copyright 2007 Arizona Republic

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