GAINESVILLE, Florida — After an extensive search, authorities have located the body of a 3-year-old boy who wandered from his southwest Gainesville home on Friday morning — just yards away from his front doorstep in a murky and abandoned pool.
Demetrius Powers' uncle reported him missing at about 11:42 a.m. Friday, said Alachua County sheriff's spokesman Art Forgey. Demetrius had been playing in front of his family residence at 517 SW 67th Terrace in the Holly Heights subdivision, when he and a 4-year old playmate wandered near the abandoned pool.
Upon arriving, Sheriff's Office personnel began searching for Demetrius. They set up a roadblock and searched all vehicles leaving the area. Bloodhounds were also brought in and immediately tracked Demetrius' scent to the edge of the pool. A small child's sandal was also found on the deck, which the family identified as belonging to Demetrius.
K-9 Deputy Lloyd Quinn jumped in the black water in hopes of finding the child. Chest deep in debris, Quinn would have to abandon the mission and await the arrival of the dive team.
They found the boy's lifeless body at about 2 p.m.
Neighbors, many of whom were standing outside by that time, erupted into tears.
"It's just a sad day," said neighbor Elizabeth Latson. "The little boy was bright, a very smart little three year old."
At one time, Latson said, she presided over the neighborhood watch and pleaded with property managers to seal off the abandoned pool, citing it as a hazard to the many small children in the development.
ASO Deputy Chris Witzel told the Sun the pool is surrounded by a fence, but the fence has multiple openings.
Property manager Kathy Banta, of Banta Properties, said she could not confirm whether there are holes in the fence.
"The pool was drained and it was sealed off," Banta said. "It's has rained quite a lot in the past few days, so it was filled with rainwater."
The mother of the 4-year-old boy who had been playing with Demetrius said her son only knew his playmate fell and did not realize he died.
Forgey said the child protection team will be questioning the child surrounding the events leading up to the drowning.
At this time foul play is not suspected, but an autopsy is being conducted. Forgey said toxicology results will take six to eight weeks to be revealed.
Information from: The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun, http://www.gainesvillesun.com