Headline Surfer® graphic / Daytona Beach toddler Clayton Bland, shown below, drowned in a pond behind his residence at 355 Aleatha Drive at 12:50 p.m. Monday as depicted in this locator map at far left, despite the quick-thinking of a neighbor who jumped in and brought him to shore where she performed CPR.
DAYTONA BEACH -- A 2-year-old boy apparently drowned in a pond behind his resident this afternoon in the 300 block of Aleatha Drive despite the heroic efforts of a neighbor who heard the mother's screams that she herself could not swim and jumped in, Daytona Beach cops said.
Despite the efforts of the neighbor, Rhonda Moore, who dove into the pond and carried the boy to shore where she immediately performed CPR, the toddler was pronounced dead on arrival at Halifax Health Medical Center, the victim of a drowning, Daytona Beach police spokesman Jimmy Flynt said in a press release.
The child was identified by police as Clayton Bland. Here is a brief synopsis of what happened as described by Flynt: Units responded to Aleatha Drive of a possible child drowning. The initial investigation revealed that a 2-year-old boy was found in the pond located in the rear of the house where he lived.
"A neighbor located at 351 Aleatha Drive reported that she heard screaming coming from the rear and looked outside and the child’s mother reported her son was in the water and she (mother) could not swim," Flynt said, identifying the mother as Talisa Brown.
That's when the neighbor, Rhonda Moore, jumped into the pond and "pulled the male out of the water and started CPR," Flynt wrote in the press release.
Photo for Headline Surfer courtesy of WFTV / Talisa Brown, mother of 2-year-old drowning victim Clayton Bland, sits by water's edge after learning from Daytona Beach cops that her child was pronounced dead on arrival in the ER at Halifax Health Medical Center as a result of drowning. Blain Tollison of WFTV Ch. 9 reported that authorities said the mother may have a diminished mental capacity, which is why the boy and his 4-year-old brother were legally awarded to the grandmother by the state. The grandmother, Lillian Brown, had gone to the store and left the two boys with their mother when they were apparently not being watched as they were throwing toys into the pond, according to initial reports from cops and neighbors.
The child was transported to Halifax Hospital where he died," Flynt said, adding the initial investigation revealed that the grandmother, Lillian Brown, had legal custody of her daughter's boys, ages 2 and 4.
Apparently, the victim and his older brother were throwing toys into the pond, when the toddler went into the water to retrieve one the toys and couldn't swim, according to initial reports from cops and neighbors.
"The grandmother had left the house to run some errands, leaving the mother with the 2- and 4-year-olds behind," Flynt wrote. "When the grandmother returned, she asked where the 2-year old child was," said Flynt, adding it appeared the 2- and 4--year-olds "wandered outside without being missed."
"The grandmother had left the house to run some errands, leaving the mother with the 2- and 4-year-olds behind," Flynt wrote. "When the grandmother returned, she asked where the 2-year old child was," said Flynt adding, it appeared the 2- and 4--year-olds "wandered outside without being missed."
That's apparently when the mother ran outside and saw the youngest child struggling in the water and she screamed for someone to save him because she herself didn't know how to swim.
Headline Surfer® reached out to Daytona Beach Mayor on his private Facebook messaging for a comment, but he asked that any such requests be sent to his official email, which the internet newspaper subsequently did and go no response.
Several Daytona Beach residents posted messages interaction to the Headliner Surfer® link to the story on Facebook.
"This is so sad that during the holiday season a young child life was lost during this tragic accident," Daytona Beach resident Marjorie Crump Johnson wrote. "When you have children this young they have to be constantly supervised. This is a terrible tragedy that has happen(ed) to this family. My thoughts and prayers goes out to the family during these difficult times."
The toddler is among several people killed in Volusia County during the holidays.