HASTINGS, Fla. - A 1-year-old boy drowned in a backyard pool Thursday in Flagler Estates.
The boy was found in the pool at a home in the 10000 block of Ebert Avenue just after 11:30 a.m., according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. Deputies initially said the boy was 2 years old.
Jennifer Petermann, the mother's neighbor and best friend, said the boy's name is Carter Sherwood.
Deputies said initial reports were that the boy was not seen for 10 minutes before being found in the water.
Petermann said the boy followed one or some of his three siblings out the front door and made it around back to the pool. She said it's an above-ground pool and Carter's mom typically keeps the ladder up so the kids can't reach it, but the kids were swimming Thursday morning so it was still down.
"It's not her fault," Petermann said. "It was an accident because she was an amazing mom, an amazing mom."
Petermann, who lives two houses down, said another neighbor called her to ask if she knew CPR. Both she and her sister-in-law are certified, so they rushed over.
Dispatchers with the Sheriff's Office and St. Johns County Fire Rescue instructed family with life-saving efforts over the phone until rescuers arrived.
Rescuers continued those efforts as they transported the boy to Flagler Hospital, where he died.
"He was a beautiful baby boy," Petermann said. "It's still kind of hard to believe. Part of you feels like you failed."
Petermann can't help but wish there was more she could have done to help save Carter.
"We did what we could do. We did everything we could do, but I guess it was too late," Petermann said.
She said she will do whatever she can to be there for her friend during this difficult time.
"I don't know what to say to her other than helping her not live with regret, because it was just an accident and unfortunately it seems like bad things happen to good people, and that's just the case of it," Petermann said.
Petermann said the other three siblings are 3, 7 and 8 years old and are currently staying with her.
She said they didn't yet know what happened as of Thursday afternoon because she was waiting until their mom got back home and was able to talk to them. Petermann said the 8-year-old is the one who found Carter though, so she is probably going to have a hard time.
Detectives are continuing the investigation.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Carter's family with funeral expenses.
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