Toddler drowns in Putnam County lake 100 yards from his home

Deputy finds boy in water after call about missing child

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. – A 2-year-old boy wandered away from his home Thursday morning and drowned in a lake about 100 yards away, according to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office.

Family members told deputies they last saw the boy around 7:30 a.m.  His mother identified him as Jackson Taggart.

Deputies responded to the area quickly after the call came in about the missing toddler, said Steve Rose, director of law enforcement for the Sheriff's Office.

When the Jackson wasn't found around his Seminole Ridge Road home, deputies searched further out and one of them spotted him around 8:15 a.m. in Santa Fe Lake, which is across the street from the home.

The boy had wandered through a neighbor's backyard and made it to a bulkhead, where he apparently fell in the water, Rose said.

A deputy dove into the lake to pull the boy out and started CPR, but the boy couldn't be revived. It's unclear how long he'd been in the water before he was found.

Jackson's mother posted on Facebook:

“We all love him (Jackson) so very much. He is such a bright light to anyone who crosses his path. He knows how to light up a room with just his smile. I fought infertility for 9 years to be blessed with my baby boy. Now that has been snatched away. He is such an active boy. He loves the outdoors and Mickey Mouse. We have every safety precaution there is. Door knobs .. alarms .. gates. We still don’t understand. This was nothing but an accident.”

The family has set up a GoFundMe account to help with the unexpected funeral expenses.

Rose said two families with a total of eight children between them share the home. He said three adults were at the house when the boy wandered out.

"It's very crucial that if you live even close to a body of water or if you have a pool, use locks and then also use alarms, so that if there is a breach of that residence, the parent or somebody within the residence will get notified of that breach, and they can take immediate action," Rose said.

The Department of Children and Families is investigating because a child died.

WATCH: Recent toddler drownings highlight risks

According to the Florida Department of Health, Florida leads the nation in drowning deaths of children between the ages of one and four, with 88 child drowning deaths in 2018.

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