Aunt: 5-year-old's mom was making dinner when he slipped away to pool

Boy, cousin jumped into deep end of condo pool, aunt says; boy drowned

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist, Francine Frazier - Senior web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The mother of a 5-year-old boy who drowned Thursday had turned her back for only 10 minutes when her son and his cousin jumped into a closed pool at their Jacksonville condo complex, the boy's aunt told News4Jax.

Ismaine Assil was rushed to a hospital after maintenance workers pulled him from the pool and tried to perform CPR, police said. He died at the hospital.

His cousin was treated at Wolfson Children's Hospital and released, the boy's family told News4Jax.
Ismaine's aunt, Laila Mohamed, said she believes the children were in the deep end of the pool, where the water reaches 9 feet.

“It was very scary, very scary,” Mohamed said. “Something like that happens very quick, and it's very hard.”

Mohamed, who is not the mother of the little girl with Ismaine, said the family recently moved to the U.S. from Central Africa and has been in Jacksonville for only a year.

She said Ismaine's mother has three children, and she was giving the youngest, who is 6 months old, a bath and preparing dinner when Ismaine rode his bicycle over to the pool and jumped in with his cousin before she realized he was gone.

According to police, an adult saw them struggling and yelled to maintenance workers, who jumped the locked fence around the pool area and tried to rescue them.

Mohamed said she was so distraught that a supervisor had to drive her home after she head the news.

“We have to pray. Pray a lot. There's nothing we can do,” Mohamed said. “His time was coming. We can't do anything.”

The bike Ismaine rode to the pool is sitting deserted in front of the family's condo.

RELATED: Pool failed 2 safety inspections, records show

News4Jax found two previous failed safety inspections for the pool, which residents said had been closed for some time.

Police said they are investigating how the children were able to get into the pool area, despite a locked gate.

An attorney for the complex released a statement to News4Jax:

All at the Preserve are deeply saddened by the tragic loss. However, until The Preserve receives further information from the various investigations, it cannot comment any further.

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