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Three-year-old girl drowns surrounded by swimmers in Hudson

HUDSON — The small, oval pool at the Forest Green Mobile Home Park was filled with swimmers Sunday night.

As the adults watched, children played in the pool and the nearby playground. But for a few minutes, everyone lost sight of 3-year-old Kayla Echevarria.

About 7:30 p.m., a 14-year-old boy noticed something hit his foot near the pool's steps. It was Kayla's body.

Investigators from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office interviewed at least seven witnesses, spokesman Doug Tobin said.

"Everyone seemed to think that somebody else was looking after her," he said.

Kayla's mother, Priscilla Ruiz of 10428 Bream Drive, was also at the pool but was too distraught to speak to sheriff's deputies, Tobin said. Ruiz could not be reached for comment Monday.

An employee at the mobile home park, which is on Hudson Avenue west of Hicks Road, would not give his name and said, "It was an accident." He then told a Times reporter to leave.

After Kayla's body was discovered, adults tried unsuccessfully to revive her on the pool deck. She was airlifted to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, where she was pronounced dead.

A death investigation is ongoing, and the Sheriff's Office could file charges, Tobin said. The Department of Children and Families will also an investigation, he said.

Nomaan Merchant can be reached at nmerchant@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6244.

Three-year-old girl drowns surrounded by swimmers in Hudson 07/21/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 25, 2008 6:04pm]
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