Missing girl, 2, pulled from Broward canal

A missing 2-year-old girl, who was the subject of a two-hour search in Lauderdale Lakes on Friday, was ultimately found in a canal, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

Jona Lilavois was airlifted to Broward General Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead just after 5 p.m., Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said.

The toddler had been watching television in her home on the 3600 block of Northwest 23rd Court in Lauderdale Lakes around 2:30 p.m., he said.

Both parents were home at the time. The child's mother was picking lemons off a tree in the backyard and her father was using the bathroom. When both returned, the little girl was no longer in front of the TV. The front door did not appear to be locked, Jachles said.

"So they began looking and searching the house for the child," he said. "At 3:11 we got a 911 call that the child was missing."

That launched an immediate and extensive search by deputies, fire rescue crews, a trained bloodhound, divers and air rescue, Jachles said.

"The bloodhound went down the block and across the street and led the handler to a nearby canal," he said. "The dog then jumped into the canal [and] the handler alerted the divers and the helicopter overhead."

The divers located the child but she was "unresponsive with no pulse." Fire rescue crews began resuscitation efforts. The helicopter landed in a field next to the canal and airlifted the girl to the hospital.

"Unfortunately, despite all of these efforts the child died at 5:21," Jachles said.

The Broward Medical Examiner is expected to determine the official cause of death.

There was no mention made of charges being considered. Historically, prosecutors have considered the loss of a child painful enough for parents and that criminal neglect charges are unnecessary, but that's not always the case.

Broward consistently is among the leading counties in the nation when it comes to child drownings, averaging about 15 per year. Three times that many children are harmed in near drownings, according to the Broward County Drowning Prevention task force


Comments