SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) — A 2-year-old boy who was pulled yesterday from a canal behind a South Florida home has died.
Relatives of the toddler said the boy, Maxuell Armah died Tuesday morning at Miami Children’s hospital. Monday afternoon, rescuers had raced against time to save the child after he was pulled from a canal. Police said, the child’s family had initially reported the toddler missing inside the home.
Florida Highway Patrol Major Sammie Thomas lives across the street from the family. He assisted in the search after the child’s family came to him for help. He said his first instinct was to head toward a nearby body of water. “I immediately went to the lake. Figuring that the child’s missing, the first place that I would want to check would be the lake because it’s a big body of water.”
The neighbor and responding Miami-Dade Police searched the scene at the Bluewaters community on Southwest 109th Avenue and 242nd St. “Our units were dispatched to a missing 2-year-old child,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Elena Hernandez. “When police arrived, they were immediately told by the family members that they had discovered the child inside the canal.”
The boy’s maternal grandfather said the child vanished in an instant. He would not be found until 20 minutes later. Maria Caridad Perdomo, a family friend, spoke on behalf of the mourning family. “The death of a human being is shocking,” she said speaking in Spanish. “But more so when it’s a child.”
Thomas first spotted some shoes near the canal and then feared what may have happened to the child. “It’s hard, especially when it’s a child involved,” said the major. “You don’t think, you start reacting. As I was taking off my shoes, standing in the water, there was also a Miami-Dade officer running toward the same location. He removed his vest and his gun.”
They performed CPR on the boy until more help arrived. A woman who only wants to be identified as “Shawn,” witnessed the rescue and took cell phone video of the first responders. “I see, maybe the mother of the baby screaming,” said Shawn. “I stopped. I’ve seen a lot of commotion, then a police officer comes, he jumps in the lake and pulled the baby out.”
A 12-year-old witness said the child went into the water attempting to reach a shoe.
The young victim was airlifted to Miami Children’s Hospital where he later died. Thomas said, “I’ve been up all night praying for the child and the family, and they stayed directly across the street. Now I’m praying for the family and will do whatever I can to be supportive, at this time.”
Paramedics were able to revive the boy. He spent the night in ICU at the hospital, where he was listed in stable but critical condition. The following morning, the family said, the child passed away. Back at the home, the father could be seen coming out of the house periodically to stare out at the body of water that claimed his only child.
Another witness, who asked not to be identified, said she told her children to view the incident as a cautionary tale. “I have three kids, and I told them to take it as a lesson because I don’t want anything to happen to them,” she said.
The exact time of death of the boy remains under investigation. Miami-Dade Police are awaiting a report from the medical examiner’s to finalize their investigation.