13-year-old child with autism drowns in Friendswood community pool, officials say
FRIENDSWOOD, Texas - A Friendswood family is in mourning after their child drowned Thursday in a community swimming pool.
It happened around 8:00 a.m., about the same time a family in the Heritage Park Village Sub-Division realized their 13-year-old son who’s autistic was missing.
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Two residents were headed to play tennis when they came upon the neighborhood pool and made a horrible discovery: a child was floating lifeless in the water.
"They immediately called 911," explains Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Gilliland. "Deputies were able to determine by the clothing and also by the physical description it did match that missing juvenile from that residence."
Many in the sub-division are left heartbroken.
"I can’t even imagine what they’re feeling. I’m absolutely empty for this family," cries resident Lauren Pustejovsky. "I just pray that they be comforted and know that there will be peace in the days to come."
"He did not know how to swim but he liked to come here and hang out with his friends and watch them swim," says Deputy Gilliland.
We’re told the 13-year-old loved the water, like many of the kids in the neighborhood. However, Pustejovsky says when the HOA realized youngsters were hopping the fence to get into the closed pool, she says the design was changed and it was raised higher.
"There’s no way to jump it," she explained. "There’s no wood that I used to hop up on and then pull myself up on the metal and they always keep it locked"
However, the 13-year-old somehow made his way in.
A stepladder was found just outside the fence. "Right now we’re determining whether that child brought that ladder here in order to gain access to the pool," says Deputy Gilliland.
Neighbors say they are doing everything possible to comfort the family.
"Me being a mom of an almost 12-year old I’m shocked" Pustejovsky adds. "I can’t even imagine what the family is feeling."
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has also reached out to try to help ease some of their pain at a time when, no doubt, they are hurting severely.