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3-year-old drowns in Palm Beach County family's pool after father falls asleep

Posted at 11:52 AM, Aug 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-23 18:52:22-04

A 3-year-old boy drowned in the family's Palm Beach County pool after his father fell asleep while watching him, according to the Department of Children and Families.

It happened on Aug. 10 around 6 p.m. while the boy's mother was at work, DCF says. 

The address of the home is unclear because it was redacted in the report.

RELATED: DCF investigators say 'children are at risk because we can't do our jobs'

While the exact details surrounding the incident are unclear, "because the father refused to be formally interviewed by law enforcement," DCF says they do know the father was home alone with the child while his mother was at work.

 

According to a DCF incident report, "at some point, the father fell asleep," and when he woke up, the 3-year-old was not in the house.

DCF investigators do not know how long the father was asleep or if he had fallen asleep intentionally or accidentally. 

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When the father woke up, DCF says the child was missing. The father searched the home without finding him and then asked a neighbor for help.

State records show law enforcement was not called until more than 30 minutes later when the father contacted the mother and she called 911. 

When PBSO arrived, the 3-year-old was immediately found floating in the family's swimming pool. The child was transported to St. Mary's Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

A DCF incident report says "medical personnel advised the child was in the pool "much longer" than 30-40 minutes."

According to DCF, the pool had no fence and the sliding glass door had no alarm or child proof locks.

"Drug paraphernalia was said to have been found in the home, however, it did not appear the father was under the influence," DCF investigators say.

According to DCF, the father refused a drug screening. At the time of the drowning, DCF was not involved with the family, but records show they have been investigated in 2014. The details are not known.

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll issued the following statement:

“Every child death is a tragedy and we are devastated by the loss of this child. The department has opened a death investigation into the circumstances surrounding this death and will also conduct a quality assurance review of the family’s prior history with the child welfare system. We will continue to support this family as they grieve and assist law enforcement.”