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Toddler in critical condition after being pulled from retention pond in Hillcrest area, police say

A resident of the Madelyn Oaks Apartments on Jacksonville's Westside called 911 after observing two small children in a retention pond.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A toddler was fighting for their life after being pulled from a retention pond on Jacksonville's Westside Thursday afternoon, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

According to an incident report from Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, First Coast News has learned the child pulled from the pond was a one-year-old.

Police say at approximately 9:45 a.m., a resident of the Madelyn Oaks Apartments on Jacksonville's Westside called 911 after observing two small children in a retention pond, according to JSO Sergeant Robby Hinson. 

JSO officers responded to the scene and an officer went into the pond, retrieved one child, and began administering first aid. JFRD arrived at the scene and took the child to the hospital. 

“I just heard a lot of screaming and the ponds like right there so I see a lady in the pond, a worker who works here, and an officer lift a baby out," said a witness, Kira Wheeler. 

The child is currently listed in very critical condition, but is alive, Sgt. Hinson said. The child is one-years-old, and officials do not know how long the child was in the water.

The other two-year-old child, who was in the pond, is fine, Sgt. Hinson said. The two children appeared to have wandered from one of the apartments and got into the pond. 

“It was very hard to watch because I have my own siblings and I was really scared because you never know and its really scared to see somebody’s baby lifeless like that," said Wheeler. 

There was a teenage caretaker who was inside the apartment looking after the one-year-old and two-year-old when the incident occurred. The caretaker is by all accounts a family member. Detectives spoke to the individual, Sgt. Hinson continued. 

The teenage caregiver stated she woke up that morning at an unknown time to feed the child, then put the child back to bed and went back to sleep herself, the report said.

The teenage caregiver stated that she then woke up to the two-year-old in her room, but she could not find the one-year-old. So she contacted the one-year-old’s mother, and the mother responded to the scene, police said.

Everyone is cooperating with detectives, Sgt. Hinson said.

Police want to warn families who live near retention ponds to take extra caution. 

“Be cognisant of retention ponds. If you have small children put a lock up high on the door or get one of those plastic locks to prevent kids from opening the door handle and be cognisant," said Hinson. 

JSO officers are in the area canvassing for witnesses.

The Madelyn Oaks Apartments are in the Hillcrest area at 5700 block of Lennox Avenue, according to JFRD.

Credit: First Coast News
Madelyn Oaks Apartments

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