Local News

Boy recovering after near-drowning

Posted December 24, 2008
Updated March 9, 2009

— A toddler spent Christmas in the hospital after being found floating face-down in a goldfish pond at his grandfather's home, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies said Ramel McArthur was listed in stable but serious condition Thursday at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill. The child turned 2-year-old on Sunday.

Thomas J. Livingston found his grandson in the tiny pond behind 1406 Milton St. just before 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve, deputies said. Sheriff's deputies and Spring Lake police rushed to the scene, along with EMS units.

Boy nearly downs in backyard pond Boy nearly downs in backyard pond

Livingston was chatting with a neighbor over a fence and thought the boy had gone into the house, deputies said. When Ramel did not answer his calls, deputies said, Livingston began searching.

"He thought he (Ramel) was around the front (of the house) until he looked and seen him in the pond. He seen his coat floating,” Charlene Livingston, the boy's grandmother, said.

Paramedics found a faint pulse in the boy and rushed him to Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg and then to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, according to the sheriff's office. 

"We have a strong family. There is a lot of love and a lot of prayers, and everything is going to be alright,” Ramel's aunt, Renee Harris, said.

The boy's grandfather was so upset at what happened, he was taken to the hospital for chest pains, his wife said.

"We have just got to pray and ask for all of your prayers, please,” Charlene Livingston said.

The family said they plan to fill in the small, backyard pond with dirt.


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  • teacher-mom Dec 26, 2008

    It only takes a split second for a tragedy to happen. I remember one morning when I was trying to fix my son's 2AM bottle I was holding him in one harm while trying to warm the bottle. He jerked back and almost fell out of my arm. He was hanging upside down in my arm. If he had fallen, he could have died as we had tile on the floor in the kitchen. I remember crying for days I was so scared. It only takes a split second. I do not understand how people think they can look after a chiod if they are impaired.

  • skinnycow Dec 26, 2008

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this family. Hope everything turns out OK for all involved.

  • schoonie79 Dec 25, 2008

    This poor family. Christmas is a time of miracles and hopefully this little angel has an angel watching over him. God bless this family and we pray that this little boy will come home soon.

  • aalajr Dec 25, 2008

    It's so easy to say that people should watch their children closer. And while I completely agree with that, at the same time I know how fast things can happen. I was outside with my 21 month old little girl last week (at night) and and turned around to let my dog in the house and she was gone---just like that. Literally, within less than a minute she disappeared. I found her across the street a couple of mins later. I cried for 2 days just thinking about all the things that could have happened to her. And I was furious at myself for even letting it happen. But I do understand how it can. They can get away from you before you know it. I'm praying that he will be ok, and also for the Grandfather.

  • Tired Of Excuses Dec 25, 2008

    All the more reason to keep an eye on your little ones...another senseless accident that could have been prevented if someone had just been paying closer attention.

  • TeresaBee Dec 25, 2008

    When my nephew was 2yrs. old I took him to a pet store. We were looking at a mother Rat and her babies in a cage and my nephew before I could stop him put his finger in the cage and the mother bite him and would not let go! I had to pull his finger out and he ended up in emergency room. The pain and guilt and anguish I felt over this was terrible. I CAN'T imagine what this poor grandfather is going through. My prayers are with this child and family.

  • slknkl Dec 25, 2008

    as i sit here this christmas morning reading this,i pray that this little boy and his family are blessed with our prayers and that all will be o.k.may god bless you all!

  • St Ives Dec 24, 2008

    Hope is aboundant this time of year lets hope he is ok

  • wcharm Dec 24, 2008

    this family will be in our prayers bless them at this time

  • Shug Dec 24, 2008

    Oh please, please let him be okay. I cannot imagine what this family is going through. Poor grandfather. Probably a family visiting for Christmas - supposed to be such a happy time. Praying for them!