Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Boy drowns in apartment pool

3-year-old had crawled out window

By Karen Vance
Enquirer contributor

UNION TOWNSHIP - A 3-year-old boy drowned Tuesday morning after falling into an apartment complex pool, shortly after he was reported missing.

The boy, Austin Brewster, apparently crawled out of a first-floor apartment window at the Clough Corner Apartments, 4260 Mount Carmel-Tobasco Road, near the intersection with Clough Pike, said Union Township Police Detective Sgt. Scott Gaviglia.

The child's mother, 22-year-old Tiffany S. Brewster, discovered he was missing about 10 a.m. and searched with friends for about a half-hour before calling police. Most of the Union Township officers on duty arrived within four minutes and began a perimeter search.

A detective found the boy, face down, cold and not breathing in the pool and started CPR, Gaviglia said.

"Even if you had walked by the pool, you wouldn't have necessarily seen the child in it," Gaviglia said. "The water was dirty and murky, there was a lot of trash and the child was dark-skinned."

The pool for the 50-unit complex had been closed for the season, but a tarp held down with sandbags was submerged, both by rain and pool water, several feet below the child.

Also, the fence around the pool had several gaps in it large enough for the toddler to squeeze through, Gaviglia said.

The child was taken by the Union Township Fire Department to Mercy Hospital Anderson, where he was pronounced dead at 11:07 a.m.

Union Township Police and the Hamilton County Coroner's Office continue to investigate, and charges are possible, Gaviglia said.

Each year, more than 300 children under 5 years old drown in swimming pools and another 2,000 are injured, usually in a pool owned by the family, according to the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission.


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