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Neighbor: Moore toddler's drowning could have been prevented

Posted April 15

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— A Moore County toddler who drowned in a pond Thursday had repeatedly wandered off before, a neighbor said Friday.

Rylan Ott, who was three weeks shy of his second birthday, was found unresponsive in a pond off Pond Branch Road near Vass and was pronounced dead at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst.

Stephanie Calcutt, who lives next door, said that, when she came home Thursday afternoon, the boy's mother, Samantha Nacole Bryant, was looking for him but couldn't find him anywhere. An hour or more passed before they called the Moore County Sheriff's Office, and deputies, local firefighters, State Highway Patrol troopers and neighbors joined in the search, which went on for about two hours.

"When I was out there looking, something just kept telling me to go back further and further and further," Calcutt said. "It just breaks your heart because you don't know what he was going through. I know he was scared, but the Lord's got him now. He's going to be OK."

The pond where Rylan was found was almost half a mile from his home.

Calcutt said the boy was outside alone a lot, sometimes wandering off to neighbors' homes, and she said she believes his death could have been prevented.

"He's out here in the yard, running around, playing," she said. "It's sad. Rylan was a loving little boy. He loved nature."

Bryant, 30, has been on probation since February after pleading guilty to three misdemeanor counts of child abuse. Warrants state that, in October, she "consumed alcohol excessively" and fought with firearms in the presence of three children.

She also pleaded guilty to assaulting a government official and resisting a public officer.

"You know, it just makes you sit back and realize: don't take life for granted," Calcutt said. "You can lose your kids in an instant. I came home and hugged my kids."

6 Comments

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  • Janet Ghumri Apr 16, 1:48 p.m.
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    Kids are fast, and they can wander away in no time.
    With that being said, as a parent, you know your child best, and you have to be faster smarter and prepared.
    If you know that your little one has fast feet, you do not leave them alone, outside knowing the dangers surrounding your home! ! It's unacceptable to leave a child unattended like that!
    It could have just as easily been a kidnapping, a dog attack, and snake bite, poison plants, etc. I feel for the family, this didn't have to happen. This little guy was just being a kid, and his mom wasn't there for him. It breaks my heart. Rest well, little angel.

  • Josha Barton Apr 16, 9:09 a.m.
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    "The pond was about half a mile from his home?" She should be arrested for negligence

  • Jj Parker Apr 16, 8:09 a.m.
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    Ok so I'm only going by what the news article says. He was missing for more than an Hr. before anyone called the police. Who in their right mind would wait that long???

    He somehow wandered almost 1/2 mile from his home. How does a person that's not even 2 go that far without being noticed??

    He was outside alone a lot, sometimes wandering off to neighbors' homes

    The mother recently plead guilty and was sentenced and currently on probation for child abuse that involved consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, assaulting a Govt. official, resisting arrest and fighting with firearms (whatever that latter is)

    WHY was she even allowed to have any child under her supervision???

    This most likely wasn't the 1st time she's had an encounter of this nature whether reported or unreported.

    Looks to me like CPS FAILED!!!!!!!

    This drowning was %110 avoidable!!!!

  • Sharon Walker Apr 16, 7:58 a.m.
    user avatar

    Wow, this Chick is definitely NOT gonna be receiving the Mother of the Year Award!! I guess no one noticed a little toddler wandering around, obviously his Mom didn't notice he was missing. Let's hope she's not pregnant with the next victim soon. #EpicFail
    RIP Little Angel πŸ™πŸ‘ΌπŸΌπŸ˜“πŸ’”

  • Mary Meadows Apr 15, 8:07 p.m.
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    If the neighbors allegations are true and protective services was involved then several things need to occur. First of all the other two children should be removed from her custody pending investigation. Secondly, was CPS doing their job ? Finally, should circumstances merit it, the mother should be charged. Note my comment is based upon very little knowledge of direct facts and my response is dependent upon evidence supporting it.

  • Michelle Bella Apr 15, 7:56 p.m.
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    1/2 mile away means he was gone for awhile before noticed. He's not even 2 so he couldn't have walked that fast. She has a history of child abuse, she needs to be charged with something. The neighbors report he was always alone outside and wondering away....why didn't anyone call the police on those occasions?