Boy, 3, drowns in apartment complex pool

July 30, 2008 12:22:48 PM PDT
A 3-year-old boy is dead after somehow drowning in a pool surrounded by people.It happened at the Saint James Apartment complex on Fondren near Wanda in southwest Houston. Police have identified the boy who drowned as Jonathan Hernandez.

Investigators say the boy's father was swimming with him last night. There were several children present at the time, as well as several adults. Police say the father took the boy out of the pool and then got back in, but what happened next is something residents say they will not forget.

"I don't know who it was that discovered the baby. We heard somebody scream and then the family must have came and the fireman was doing CPR," said resident Twin Stoval. "He tried. He tried and he tried."

The life-saving efforts weren't enough. Jonathan died.

"He then floated up," said Stoval. "They found him in the pool."

Stoval was in her apartment around 8:45pm when word spread that a child was missing. At least two dozen people, according to police, were at the pool when someone realized they hadn't seen Jonathan for some time.

Stoval believes an hour passed before he was found in the water by his father.

Those who watched the nightmare unfold wondered why the parents allowed the child to even get near the water, given what they say are less than perfect conditions around the pool.

"It's too dark. There is no lighting out here at night for them. So that pretty much tells you don't swim at night," said resident Kathy Thornhill.

The gate to the pool is a self-latching gate, however it does not function properly. The apartment complex had used extra locks to try to keep people out. But recently, some residents who live at the complex say even those extra locks were unlocked.

"Now it is, before it was never locked all of the time. It was never unlocked," said Thornhill. "But people were hopping the gate then because they wanted to get in the pool."

The Health Department says no formal complaints have been made by any residents against the apartment complex regarding the pool. They are now investigating the claims.

Police are still questioning those involved. They are trying to find out if alcohol, possibly consumed by any of the adults present last night, may have been a factor. There's no word if anyone could face charges.

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Just two weeks ago, a seven-year-old boy drowned in the murky waters of a swimming pool at an apartment complex in northeast Harris County.

Javante Lemon's mother lost sight of him as he swam with other kids at the Forest Creek apartments. His mother initially looked for him in the pool but was unable to see him because of the cloudy water.

A Harris County inspector examined the pool and found that everything was within legal limits. However, in his report, he listed the cloudiness as a concern.

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