Toddler drowns in apartment complex pool

July 25, 2010 3:59:02 PM PDT
A mother is devastated after the sudden loss of her 3-year-old son who drowned while on vacation. The child's mother wants others to learn from what happened. Family members say they were swimming with the child in an apartment complex pool Saturday night when he went underwater.

Paramedics rushed to help off Coolwood in east Houston, but they couldn't revive him. It's the latest in a series of drownings nationwide.

We're half way through summer and just this week, new safety reports show there have been more than 200 child drownings across the country since Memorial Day. Sadly one of the most recent is here in Houston.

"I just can't imagine his pain as the water fell over his head," said Leslie Velloso, mother of the victim.

Her son, Christopher, 3, woke up Saturday morning, wanting to splash around in his grandmother's pool.

"He loves spending time in that pool," said Velloso.

Christopher was in the shallow end, wearing a floatie. His aunt was also in the pool and watched from nearby. She moved toward the deep end and when she turned back around, Christopher was gone.

"I know that as parents or family members, you think that you're watching them and you turn around for five seconds and something can happen to them and they're gone like that," Velloso said.

Moments of confusion, then panic washed over Christopher's family as they scrambled to figure out where he went. Then his aunt felt the little boy's body underneath her feet at the bottom of the pool. She never heard screaming or splashing.

"People think that drownings are very loud, long, in reality it only takes a few seconds," said Jason Hill, YMCA Aquatics Director.

More heart breaking is the fact that Christopher's mother was in Wisconsin.

"I got a call at about 8 o'clock that he had drowned. I took the first flight down here by the time I made it, it was already midnight and he was already gone," said Velloso.

Now as she honors her son's life at the poolside where he died, Velloso has a painful message to parents no mother ever wants to deliver. Her darkest day is brightened only by knowing her angel is watching over other children.

"Just don't keep them out of sight - at all. I know sometimes they seem like they're so smart, and so big and that they're gonna be OK, but just watch them," Velloso said.

Homicide detectives are investigating which is standard any time a child dies. There are no charges pending right now, and police confirm that the aunt was not drinking at the time she was in the pool with her nephew.


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