Teen pulled from Vince Bayou dies at hospital

July 25, 2012 2:08:21 PM PDT
A teenager who was found after she was swept away Tuesday evening in a dangerous neighborhood bayou has died.

Rescue crews battled against the elements as they searched for Tera Gill in Vince Bayou along Southmore and Richey in Pasadena.

EMS pulled Tera out of the bayou just after 7pm and started administering CPR right away. They took her Bayshore Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Rescue workers knew they had to work fast to save the 14-year-old girl. They were racing daylight and a strong current.

"The girl was floating there, but then she got stuck in the tree," witness Giselle Fernandez said.

Fernandez says she and her friends saw a girl wearing a gray hoodie floating upstream. Based on investigators' descriptions, the victim floated for one mile and about 15 minutes before an overgrown tree caught her body and crews on boats pulled her out.

"She was walking right there by the river and there was a big, big hole and she fell," witness Nicholas Flores said.

The young witnesses say the girl never screamed or called for help. In addition to Pasadena police and fire, the Coast Guard launched its chopper, offering to help in the search in case the girl floated further north and into the Ship Channel.

The teen's gray hoodie was spotted before then.

The part of Vince Bayou where this happened is home to Memorial Park, a cluster of apartments and a community playground. And, as we noticed from posted signs, it's infested with alligators. Parents whose routine strolls run past there say they'll never walk past it the same way.

"I'll be more careful, especially to let them go outside by themselves," Pasadena resident Nuri Escobar said.

Police say that Tera was walking with her sister at the time, and the girls were trying to cross the bayou to get home by walking through the water instead of using the bridge. Since recent rains, the water in the bayou was deeper and the current was stronger than normal, causing Tera to lose her footing and go under water.

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