Family, friends say goodbye to 5-year-old who drowned in wave pool

By Lynnsey Gardner - Investigative reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Loved ones gathered Friday for an emotional goodbye for a 5-year-old Jacksonville boy who drowned last weekend on what was supposed to be fun family outing.

There were plenty of hugs and tears for the Lawson family as they gathered at a Brentwood Funeral Home for the funeral for Kaiden Lawson, a boy known as their "bright light."

Kaiden was found unresponsive Saturday in a wave pool at the Daytona Lagoon Water Park.

Out of respect for the family, our News4Jax kept a respectful distance outside the service as the family searched for peace and closure.

Police say the family remembers Kaiden and his older brother were playing in waist-deep water in the wave pool.

A family member was nearby and then was distracted by another child. When that person looked back, Kaiden was missing, but tragically that person assumed Kaiden had walked out of the wave pool and to the nearby playground area. While they went to the play area to search for the boy, a witness spotted the child face-down in the water, jumped into the wave pool in an attempt to save him and flagged down a lifeguard.

Police estimate he had been in the water for four to five minutes by the time he was discovered.

The family wants to know if there were three lifeguards on duty that day and how all three missed the boy long for so long he could not be revived.

Kaiden's mother told News4Jax earlier this week she planned to go back to Daytona and review the surveillance video from the park.

"We do not know yet what that video may have revealed," she said.

Kaiden Lawson's GoFundMe account reached more than $5,600 to help the family with funeral costs.

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