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August 19, 1998

Tragedy struck a young couple about to start a new life, as their two unsupervised toddlers fell into a pool Wednesday.

The kids, Shelby and Jeffery Thorton Jr., ages 21 months and 12 months, suffered hypoxia and brain damage after they tumbled into a pool in the 3800 block of West Meadowbrook Avenue in Phoenix.

Their parents, Brandy and Jeffery Thorton, both in their early 20s, were staying at the home with friends, and planned to move to Iowa next week to look for jobs and reconnect with family.

Brandy Thorton was watching the children outside the pool's gate, and went into the house for a moment.

The children made their way through the fence, erected just last week to protect them, and fell into the pool.

Susan Young, the mother in the family hosting the Thortons, is a registered nurse, and immediately administered CPR to the children.

By the time Phoenix firefighters arrived, the kids were breathing again.

"(Brandy and Jeff) are really protective and possessive," said Amy Young who attended high school with Brandy Thorton. "They never leave their kids alone. Brandy must have just gone in for a second to get a cigarette or something."

The children were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, where they started showing signs of brain damage and hypoxia, a condition resulting from a lack of oxygen. They were in critical condition late Wednesday.

Jeffery Jr. celebrated his first birthday Aug. 11.

Phoenix firefighters urge pool owners to install extra latches on back doors, and remain extra vigilant when youngsters are around.

The Thorton kids' accident represents the 34th and 35th water related incidents involving young children this summer.

Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
Written by: Hannah Miller
©Copyright 1997 Arziona Republic

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