SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A boy on the autism spectrum drowned after he fell into a canal in Southwest Miami-Dade, police said, leaving his family and an entire community devastated.
According to Miami-Dade Police, the 4-year-old victim’s body was pulled from Naranja Canal, located in the area of Southwest 280th Street and 140th Place, right behind the boy’s home, Saturday afternoon.
The child’s mother spoke with 7News while she was searching for her son. She said she took her eyes off him for just a few seconds.
When she stepped away, the boy’s mother said, she got an alert from her Ring camera but didn’t see anything moving.
Shortly after, she said, she found out her son was no longer in the home and immediately called police.
Police said they received a 911 call about a missing boy with special needs, at around 12:50 p.m. An alert went out shortly after.
“It appears that in a fraction of a second, that child was able to exit the front door of the residence,” said MDPD Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.
Investigators said K-9 units were dispatched to the scene and scoured the area. Family members, teachers and neighbors also searched for the boy.
Detectives later zeroed in on the canal and a break in a nearby fence.
“Once our police divers went in, and they did a search within the proximity of a house, it was unfortunate that they were able to find the body of the 4-year-old,” said Zabaleta.
Medical examiners responded to the scene, and police confirmed the cause of death was drowning.
“It’s a very tragic day; the community lost a 4-year-old. He probably didn’t know what he was doing, a special needs child,” said Zabaleta.
Police did not identify the boy, but family members said his name was Benjamin.
Hours later, cameras showed family members consoling each other outside of his home.
Benjamin’s therapist said he was a special boy.
Police said they will look at surveillance video, as they continue to investigate.
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