LAUDERDALE LAKES (CBSMiami) -A toddler pulled from a Lauderdale Lakes canal Friday afternoon died after being airlifted to Broward General Medical Center.
Jona Lilavois, 2, had been missing since about 2:30 p.m. after wandering away from her house while both her parents were home.
“The mother apparently went out back to get some laundry off the clothesline, the father went to use the restroom. At some point after that when they reconverged in the living room where the child was watching TV, the child wasn’t there,” said Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire Rescue Spokesperson Mike Jachles.
The family began searching for Lilavois, including her 16-year-old brother Romenson Meresse, who described her through tears Friday night. “She was a beautiful little girl, and she had long black hair.”
The family also asked neighbors like Nykesha Lee to help in the search.
“I went door to door and knocked on all the doors and I went over here and we were stopping all the cars that came by; we were stopping them and asking have they seen a little sister that was in a pink dress,” said Lee.
40 minutes after Lilavois vanished, her family called 911, according to Jachles.
BSO’s dive team, and bloodhounds responded to the home on the 3600 block of 23rd Court and began searching for the girl. A bloodhound caught a scent of the child and jumped into the canal to follow it. Divers were called to the water, where they located Lilavois.
Officials say she did not have a pulse when pulled from the canal but they did intensive CPR on her and airlifted her to the hospital. Investigators have determined this was purely a tragic accident, and that Lilavois had left the home through the front door, which was left unsecured.
Meresse had this message for anyone who cares for young children.
“Keep their babies away from water, tell them be more careful.”