Houston police are investigating the death of a 9 year old Houston girl who apparently drown near her home in White Oak Bayou in Northwest Houston Tuesday morning. Her family says she simply left their Hunter's Cove apartment and walked a short distance to the water.
"My information indicates that the girl has a condition similar to autism," said Houston Police homicide detective, Sgt. John Parker. Houston police say the girl had a condition known as Angelman’s Syndrome. "I've been told it causes the individual, or her anyway, to like water."
The family says they noticed the girl missing around 6am. Her grandmother, talking to reporters in Spanish, says she must have unlocked the door and left. The grandmother claimed a landscaping man told them he saw the girl outside but didn't stop her, even though at the time she was wearing only a diaper.
Tennita Hardy was walking her dog at about 7:15 when the mom and brother came to her crying, asking for help.
"I just immediately started looking and praying that somebody found her and took her to CPS (Child Protective Services)," Hardy said, "But this is what happened."
By 8am Houston firefighters had discovered the girl's body in the bayou. Homicide detectives say she was naked, and in a shallow area surrounded by deep water.
Sgt. Parker says, at this point, the girl's death appears to be no more than a tragic incident, but the investigation isn't complete. Parker says he hopes to track down the landscaper who saw the girl in a diaper. Parker the girl was not wearing the diaper when she was found, but he was not aware of finding one in the area between the apartment and the bayou.
"I just pray that the little girl drown and wasn't molested or anything like that" Hardy said. "I just pray that's what it was and nothing else, because she's autistic."
Investigators are awaiting preliminary report from the medical examiner's office. The girl's condition and cause of death will tell detectives if this truly was accidental.