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Toddler drowns in Lutz pool

Ramiro Rodriguez, 16, said he rushed to perform CPR on his 
2-year-old neighbor, Billy Antonio Sune, but it was too late.

KIM WILMATH | Times

Ramiro Rodriguez, 16, said he rushed to perform CPR on his 2-year-old neighbor, Billy Antonio Sune, but it was too late.

LUTZ — Ramiro Rodriguez ran outside when he heard the screaming. It was coming from across the street, at a house with a pool out back.

There, on the ground, was Rodriguez's little neighbor, 2-year-old Billy Antonio Sune — drenched and unconscious.

The child's mother had just pulled him from the water.

"He was really purple," said Rodriguez, 16. "I tried to do CPR, but nothing happened."

The child's father tried CPR, too, before the ambulance arrived. It was too late.

Billy was pronounced dead shortly after noon Saturday at the University Community Hospital, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies remained at the house, 15125 N 18th St. in Lutz, collecting evidence for several hours. Family members, who had gathered on the front patio, declined to comment.

It all happened just after 11 a.m.

Rodriguez was watching his brothers, 9-month-old twins, and his almost 2-year-old sister while his mom hosted a yard sale.

Across the street, Billy played while his parents and a few friends worked in the yard. Deputies said just 10 minutes went by before Mrs. Sune realized her son was missing.

She found him floating in the in-ground pool, which has no fence or enclosure.

"She was just screaming and screaming," Rodriguez said.

A county ordinance passed in 2004 requires all in-ground pools to have a fence at least 4 feet high or an approved barrier with self-latching gates, regardless of when the pool was built.

The Freedom High School freshman said he's never been trained in CPR, but instinct kicked in when he saw the helpless child.

"I was holding him, and I thought he died right there," Rodriguez said. "I was scared."

Rodriguez went with the Sune family to the hospital, where paramedics and doctors and nurses continued trying to resuscitate Billy.

Finally, someone said he was gone, Rodriguez recalled. "He had been in the water for too long. … That's what they said."

Back at home, Rodriguez stared over his fence as sheriff's vehicles came and went from the Sune house. Rodriguez said Billy, whom Rodriguez called Antonio, often came over to play with Rodriguez's little sister.

He could talk, but he didn't say much, Rodriguez remembered. "He was a fun kid. He always had a smile."

Kim Wilmath can be reached at kwilmath@sptimes.com or (813)661-2442.

Toddler drowns in Lutz pool 05/29/10 [Last modified: Saturday, May 29, 2010 10:04pm]
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