Local News

Boy found floating in fountain dies

Posted June 29, 2008
Updated June 30, 2008

— A 4-year-old boy died Monday morning after being found floating in a fountain Sunday while his parents were cleaning a childhood-development center in the Riverwood Athletic Subdivision.

Police said Derek Casanova-Gonzalez wandered away from his parents, near Charleston Drive, shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday.

Derek's parents, Gil Alonso and Erika Gonzalez-Trejo, both of Johnston County, began searching for him and found him in the outdoor fountain, police said.

Derek was unresponsive, and Alonso began performing CPR on him. The parents called 911, and Clayton emergency medical workers and police officers responded.

Derek was transported to WakeMed in Raleigh, where he died Monday, police said.

People who live in the neighborhood described the fountain as kid-friendly. The developer purposely designed it to be shallow.

“Actually, I take my neighbors little girl up there (the fountain) quite a bit,” said Teikeisha Beddoe. “I’m shocked, literally, I’m in shock.”

“It doesn't take much water to drown. Unfortunately, it doesn't take much water,” neighbor Kim Stotz said.

Investigators said Derek was autistic.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • oldschooltarheel Jun 30, 2008

    Totally concur TooMuchGovt. More laws simply give more legislators more tax dollars to suck away. More enforcement is unlikely as the current laws on the books are spottily enforced cue to lack of LEOs. Folks, realize that life is precarious & take precautions. Realize accidents do happen & "special needs" folks are at special risk. If this family is broken up about the loss of their son I feel for them. No laws would change this incident. Accidents happen, kids get broken doing stuff & sometimes they die. Happens less now b/c so many of 'em are cemented sessile to the sofas playing video games but kids fall from heights, drown, get hit by cars, stomped & bit by critters, especially active ones. That's how they learn... balance, timing, coordination, how-not-to-be-a-soppy-little-whiner, all kinds of stuff....

  • Slip Kid Jun 30, 2008

    Very sorry to hear the boy died. These things happen, but not often in the EYSESIGHT of their parents/gaurdians. That's the 2nd trajedy here.

    Apparently, we have stopped teaching our citizens how to read (and write) satire. How could anybody in their right minds think that a comment like banning fountains or building 100 foot high fences is an actual position on this story? Good grief, said Charlie Brown.

  • Ksw1 Jun 30, 2008

    My Thoughts and Prayers are with the parents and the rest of the family. I can't imagine the pain and anguish they are living with today and will wake up to for their rest of their lives. I hope they know and find peace with the fact that while their child is gone, he or she is in a better place. God Bless.

  • teacher-mom Jun 30, 2008

    This is really tragic. It is so hard to keep up with children. You almost need to put a little harness or wrist strap on them. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye. My prayers are with the family.

  • TooMuchGovt Jun 30, 2008

    Oh yes, let's get the government to ban fountains. Don't think small. Go to the UN. Demand that the Trevi Fountain in Rome be torn down; fill the reflecting pool in Washington with dirt; fence off the great Alhambra fountain in Granada, Spain; blow up the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas; ask the French to turn off all the fountains in Versailles; imprison anyone else who builds a new fountain. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  • teacher-mom Jun 30, 2008

    Some sleazy ambulance chaser will probably have them sue the facility. They will end up owning it.

  • teacher-mom Jun 30, 2008

    This is a shame. God bless his little heart.

    I am in agreement about the pool around the fountain. There should be a fence around it.

  • NeverSurrender Jun 30, 2008

    "We have heard about how fast a kid can get away from their parents, a fence around this fountain or the fountain not having a pool of water could have prevented this CHILD from drowning"


    And then again, it may well not have. Children have been known to climb over fences or go through gates or run into the street when a car is coming.

    You can mitigate the risk as much as possible but you certainly won't eliminate all risk that is a part of living.

    It's a terrible accident to be sure and I feel for those parents who are faced with burying their beloved child. Even though my children occasionally drive me to distraction, I just can't and don't really want to imagine the emptiness of knowing they weren't waking up tomorrow.

    I wouldn't wish what this family is feeling or the fine employees at WakeMed Children's ED who were on the shift when the call came in from Clayton EMS..."drowning...child unresponsive".

    I felt for my wife because that was a sucky way to start the day.

  • Raleigh Jun 30, 2008

    In NC there are laws that regulate fences, gates, doors, etc. around swimming pools.

    Eventhough the fountain isnt made for swimming, it does have a pool of water.

    If feel this fountain should be removed or have a fence put up around the fountain or not allow water to pool in the base of this fountain.

    The fountain has statues of kids at play. No wonder kids are drawn toward this.

    We have heard about how fast a kid can get away from their parents, a fence around this fountain or the fountain not having a pool of water could have prevented this CHILD from drowning....Just like fences around swimming pools prevent CHILDREN from drowning.

    FRED SMITH, please remove the fountain or put up a fence around the fountain, or do not allow water to pool in the base of the fountain before other kids die.


  • fredssmithisnotmysenator Jun 30, 2008

    wral- thanks for removing my comments from earlier