2-year-old drowns in Aurora backyard pool

Updated 8/3/2011 12:10 PM

A 2-year-old girl drowned early Tuesday in a backyard swimming pool of an Aurora home where seven children were being cared for by a woman who was not a licensed day-care operator, police said.

About 10:40 a.m., officers responded to the 2700 block of Squaw Valley Trail in the southeast portion of Aurora.


Abigail Holland of Aurora was one of seven children being cared for at the home by a 36-year-old woman who lives at the address, authorities said.

She told police that, about five to 10 minutes before calling 911, she noticed Abigail missing and began to look for her. During her search, she saw two doors open leading to the backyard. She then looked into the above ground pool, which is surrounded by a fenced-in deck with several stairs leading up to it, and saw the child in the water, police said.

Police said the woman pulled the child from the pool, yelled for her 13-year-old son to call for help, and began administering CPR. Aurora Fire Department paramedics arrived on the scene and rushed Abigail to Rush-Copley Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Kristine Beckemeier, who lives across the street from Abigail's family, was stunned by what had happened.

"I saw Abby when she was still in her mom's tummy, and it's just really quite terrifying and sad that something like that would happen to her," Beckemeier said.

At the time of the tragedy, the woman was the sole adult in the home, watching the seven children, who ranged in age from 10 months to 9 years. Three of her four children, ages 5, 8, and the 13-year-old who called 911, also were home at the time.

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Kendall Marlowe, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, said the agency is looking into "neglect allegations relating to the deceased child and (the woman's) own four children."

The woman also was investigated for allegations of neglect in April, he said, but those proved to be "unfounded," Marlowe said.

The woman declined to comment Tuesday evening.

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