Deltona toddler drowning victim identified; VCSO ignores media outlet's request for incident report

Photos for Headline Surfer / This toddler, Colynn R. Mertz, was the victim of an apparent drowning 3:08 p.m. Wednesday. Below are Andrew Gant and Laura Williams, civilian PIOs under Sheriff Mike Chitwood, who failed to respond to a request by Headline Surfer for the 'incident report' on the child's death.
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DELTONA, Fla -- The Volusia County Sheriff's Office has identified Colynn R. Mertz, a 2-year-old boy (DOB 6/20/2015), of 2066 Dalton Ave., Deltona, as the victim of drowning in the family pool at that location Wednesday afternoon. 

A 6:40 a.m. Thursday email request by Headline Surfer for a copy of the incident report on the child's death was sent to Andrew Gant and Laura Williams, civilian PIOs with the VCSO. The request for the public record was not fulfilled or even acknowledged despite the fact it is a public record created by an on-scene deputy. Senior Volusia County personnel and elected county council leaders were copied on the request. 

A 6:40 a.m. Thursday email request by Headline Surfer for a copy of the incident report on the child's death was sent to Andrew Gant and Laura Wlliams, civilian PIOs with the VCSO, shown here. The request for the public record was not fulfilled or even acknowleged despite the fact it is a public record created by an on-scene deputy.

Senior Volusia County personnel and elected county council leaders were copied on the request. 

"Deputies responded to the home at 2066 Dalton Ave. after a 3:08 p.m. in response to a 9-1-1 call about the toddler, who was unresponsive after being removed from the swimming pool," the VCSO said in a social media post," adding, "First responders were not able to revive him." 

No other information, such as the circumstances that led to the drowning or who was home with the victim, have been released. 

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.