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Peoria police investigate drowning of boy, 2

July 21, 2008

Peoria police have launched an investigation into the events surrounding the weekend drowning of a 2-year-old boy, officials said Monday.

The probe will focus, in part, on how and why the gate to a fenced backyard pool had been propped open with a chair, said Mike Tellef, a police spokesman.

"This incident is currently under investigation by the Peoria Police Department's family crimes unit," Tellef said.

The victim, Luis Garcia Jr., was pronounced dead Sunday after being airlifted to Phoenix Children's Hospital from his family's home in the 7300 block of West Carol Avenue, north of Olive Avenue.

Firefighters were called to the home about 2:45 p.m. after the father, Luis Garcia Sr., 44, awoke from a nap, noticed an open arcadia door and found his son at the bottom of the pool, Tellef said.

The child apparently got access to the pool through the open gate, he added.

For authorities, it was the second water-related incident in 10 days involving a Peoria child.

On July 10, firefighters were called to a home in the 7700 block of West Eugie Avenue, south of Thunderbird Road, after a 3-year-old boy was found under water in a friend's pool.

The child, who apparently had slipped out of arm floaties, was found at the bottom of the pool, but was pulled out by an adult after maybe 15 seconds under water, Tellef said.

The boy was breathing, crying and responsive when he was airlifted to a Phoenix hospital as a precaution, he said.

Both incidents underscore the importance of constant eye-to-eye adult supervision whenever children are around water, Tellef said.

Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
Brent Whiting
Copyright 2008 Arizona Republic

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