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Toddler who followed puppy to pool dies

Dec. 29, 2006

One of two toddlers who apparently followed a puppy through a broken gate and fell into a backyard swimming pool Thursday has died, officials said today.

Eleven-month-old Brenda Carillo passed away at 8:46 a.m.. Thirteen-month-old Alondra Estrada remains in very critical condition.

Neither had a pulse when they were found floating facedown on top of the green water. They may have been in the water as long as 20 minutes, said Phoenix Fire Division Chief Mike Sandulak. advertisement

Brenda was the sixth child to drown in Phoenix this year. In Maricopa County, 10 children have drowned in 2006.

Fire officials said Thursday the tragedy should serve as a reminder that pools are just as much of a "death trap" for kids in the winter, when people tend to focus more on indoor activities, as when the thermometer hits triple digits.

"The water's cold, and you figure you don't need to think about the pool. You don't go in the backyard. You sure enough don't swim," Sandulak said. "But if you don't keep your eyes on them all the time, the kids can get out whether it's cold outside or warm."

Phoenix police homicide detectives were investigating at the home near 60th Avenue and Thomas Road. Detective Bob Ragsdale said detectives were securing a search warrant late Thursday. Ragsdale said the investigation was standard procedure, and it was too early to say if charges would be sought against the mothers.

The pool was fenced, but the latch on the gate did not work, Sandulak said. He gave the following account:

The two girls had been left to play in a "toy room" inside the home while one of their mothers went outside to clean a van and the other washed dishes. One mother then realized she hadn't heard the girls in a while, and a 13-year-old boy noticed that the arcadia door was open.

It appears that a puppy had gone out the arcadia door, which didn't shut completely. The puppy then went into the pool area and nudged open the gate. The girls followed.

One of the mothers and the 13-year-old boy pulled the girls from the pool and attempted to revive them.

Debbie Ramirez, who lives nearby, said firefighters were still trying to get the children to breathe when they loaded them into ambulances. Neither child was moving.

"It's a horrible sight, especially when it comes to kids," Ramirez said. "Nobody seems to understand that you have to watch your kids, even in the winter, around water."
Reproduced with permission from:
The Arizona Republic
By Judi Villa
Copyright 2007 Arizona Republic

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