NORTH LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Two children have died after drowning in a North Lauderdale swimming pool.
North Lauderdale Fire Rescue crews were called to the scene at an apartment complex between State Road 441 and the Florida Turnpike, just before 10 p.m., Wednesday.
The pool is gated and fenced off, and it remains unknown how the two brothers gained entry.
Resident Marie Fleming said the boys somehow found their way inside.
“I think that they were too small to jump the gate, so they may have slipped through,” she said.
The boys’ mother said she and their father discovered the two brothers, ages 5 and 6, unresponsive at the bottom of the community pool just after 9:30 p.m.
“I heard commotion out in the court, and I ran over there, and I saw two children laying on the side of the pool,” said Dawn Colletti, who lives nearby. “I’m a mess. I can’t even go to sleep. I have two children.”
Neighbors said the mother was at the scene watching as paramedics worked on the young children. They believe she pulled at least one of them from the water.
Fleming said she grabbed her own key to open the gate to try to help.
“But they weren’t breathing,” she said.
Witnesses told 7News that paramedics were trying to resuscitate at least one of the children on the scene.
“Paramedics were working on the kids with the police keeping people back and stuff like that,” a witness said. “It’s pretty much that — just CPR.”
Crews transported the victims as trauma alerts to Northwest Regional Hospital where they later died.
The boys were later identified as 6-year-old Ja’Kye Joseph and 5-year-old Branario Minto.
Their mother was distraught and screaming, and those screams were heard throughout the neighborhood, residents said.
Hours after they died, the boys’ mother, overcome with grief, was spotted pacing around the pool.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” she said as she held back tears while looking at a photo of them. “They’re only 5, and they’re only 6. I lost my babies too early. Branario was supposed to graduate on the 28th, but it is what it is. I’m sorry. I didn’t get to save them. I’m so sorry. If I was there, I could have saved them.”
The boys’ mother said they were playing outside for hours beforehand. She said one of them had recently started swimming classes but both still did not know how to swim on their own.
The two boys were the mother’s oldest children of four.
“I passed them each morning to go to school, you know, gave them a high five and talked to them as a teacher and would go on my way,” said family friend Carlene Cohen. “It was very sad last night, but I hope that their mother will find solace in God, because there’s still a God.”
Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives are trying to determine how the boys actually managed to get inside the pool is underway.
Officials with the Florida Department of Children and Families said they have a history with the victims’ family and will be looking over all of their prior contact with them. The mother’s two other children, a 4-month-old and a 1-year-old, have been taken into protective custody.
The children’s foster parents have started a GoFundMe page to help with funeral expenses. If you would like to make a donation, click here.
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