Local News

Boy recovering after near-drowning

Posted December 24, 2008 4:12 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:11 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.