Police: Toddler drowns at Lakeshore home

Neighbor who tried to save boy: 'I just wanted the child to come back to life'

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A toddler drowned Thursday afternoon at a home in the Lakeshore area of the Westside, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.

Officers and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department responded about 2:20 p.m. a report of drowning in a pool at a home on San Juan Avenue, just west of Cassat Avenue. Aerial video from Sky 4 showed an above-ground pool, which appeared to be slightly deeper than 4 feet, in the backyard.

When first responders arrived, according to the Sheriff's Office, witnesses were performing CPR on the child. JFRD then took the child to the hospital, where the child died.

The child's age and gender were not immediately released by police, but neighbors told News4Jax the toddler is a boy.

“I’m just terribly heartbroken," neighbor Robin Edwards said. "I just can’t believe it.”

Next-door neighbor Arthur Martin said he tried to save the boy.

“I heard screaming," he said. "I knew the neighbors had a pool and everything."

Martin said as soon as heard a woman scream, he looked out the window, ran out the door, jumped over the fence into his neighbor’s yard and saw a man who was holding the boy while climbing out of the pool. Martin said he then sprang into action to try and help the child.

“I immediately hopped the fence the moment I saw and knew the situation," he said. "I asked, 'Can I do CPR?' And they said, 'Yes.'"

After Martin learned the boy didn’t make it, he said, "my heart was broke."

"That just brought pain to my heart because this was a little one who was probably just playing," the neighbor said. "I just wanted the child to come back to life because I have two children of my own and I just thought this is crazy. This could be one of my little ones."

Physician Zalika Nesbeth, the co-owner of a nearby health facility, said child drowning should be a major safety concern for all parents.

"It’s actually heartbreaking to hear that. This is a public health and public safety issue," Nesbeth said. "I do advise all parents and anyone with a child to supervise their children or child around water. This is Florida. It is hot, but again, to lose a child is heartbreaking.”

Police would not confirm whether any adults were watching the child, so it’s unclear how long the child may have been in the water. 

According to the Sheriff's Office, foul play is not suspected. Homicide detectives and the Department of Children and Families responded to the home.

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