The Department of Children and Families has officially ruled the case involving a toddler in Baker county a drowning.

The 2-year-old child was pronounced deceased after he was found floating in a pond when he got out of the home undetected while in the care of his 18-year-old sister.

The family did not have any prior DCF investigations within the past 12 months.  

Deputies say the child, 2-year-old Franklin Parker, was being watched by Alexis Williams, 18, at West Minnesota Avenue on Monday night and Tuesday while their parents were at work.

Williams told deputies she and Franklin slept on the couch together through the night until the child woke up at 6:50 a.m. 

Williams then reportedly gave Franklin a toy and a cell phone to play with. Hours later, just before 10 a.m., Alexis awoke to neighbors knocking on the door, saying Franklin was running around outside.

Williams and her neighbors, Louie Creekmore and Amy Creekmore, searched for Franklin and found the toddler in a nearby retention pond between Lowder Avenue and Ninth Street, deputies say.

Louie Creekmore, who lives at the nearby apartment complex, pulled Parker out of the retention pond.

“No comment, I’m too shaken up about it,” Creekmore told First Coast News.

Neighbors at the apartment complex saw Creekmore’s efforts.

“He took his shirt off and jumped in the water, he came out with the baby in his arm but the baby was limp…It’s just shocking to see a baby like that,” a neighbor said.

Parents like Amy Tisdale were sorry to hear what happened.

“Look at a bad tragedy, I feel bad for them, I wish it didn’t happen but at the same time there should be a fence over there,” Tisdale said.

The property owner runs a nearby storage business.

He told First Coast News that he was getting permits to put a fence around the pond but never got around to installing a fence.

The Baker County Sheriff’s Office says their agency and the Department of Children and Families are looking into the drowning.

Tisdale says she is holding her kids and grandkids closer after seeing this kind of tragedy.

“I never thought I’d open the front door and see that going on.  People have to be careful out here and you have to pay attention to your kids because that accident could’ve been my child,” Tisdale said.

Another neighbor, Angela Harrell, performed CPR on the child until deputies arrived at the scene, according to the sheriff's office.

Franklin was rushed to the emergency room at Ed Fraser Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The sheriff's office is also investigating.

Florida leads the country in drowning deaths of children ages 1 to 4 years, according to the Florida Department of Health. Annually in Florida, enough children to fill three to four preschool classrooms drown before their 5th birthday.

Toddler
FCN