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Toddler drowns in pool while dad works

As her father finished his chores, an 18-month-old girl wandered through a living room door Sunday afternoon and fell into the backyard swimming pool.

Paramedics rushed Arianna DeLeon to Spring Hill Regional Hospital, but the toddler later died.

The investigation into the drowning remained open, although Hernando County sheriff's officials do not think foul play or criminal negligence contributed to Arianna's death.

"It is another unfortunate situation with a child drowning," said sheriff's spokeswoman Deputy Donna Black.

Sunday's drowning was the second incident in the past month involving a child who fell into the family swimming pool. But the incidents had different outcomes.

On a Sunday afternoon in early December, 2-year-old Barrett Brown Jr. slipped past his father and three older siblings and fell into the pool of their Godfrey Avenue home.

Barrett survived. His grandmother, Lisa Marsh, called him the family's miracle baby.

Arianna wasn't as lucky, officials said.

She was watching television in the living room around 12:50 p.m. as her father, Edwin DeLeon, 26, cleaned a bedroom bathroom, Black said. At one point, the fumes from the cleaning agents became so strong that DeLeon walked from the master bedroom onto the pool deck.

While outside, DeLeon received a telephone call. During the conversation, DeLeon tried not to let his daughter get out of sight too long, checking on her in the living room every five minutes, Black said.

When the conversation ended, he returned to the bedroom and continued cleaning.

After Arianna walked into the bedroom, her father told her to go back to watching television, Black said. He then returned to his cleaning.

Five minutes later, DeLeon turned on a fan and went to check on his daughter. She was not where he last saw her, Black said.

As he looked through the house, DeLeon noticed that the glass door in the living room was open. He hustled onto the patio and found Arianna floating face down in the pool, Black said.

DeLeon pulled Arianna from the water. He performed CPR and called 911. DeLeon was trying to call from another telephone when paramedics arrived at the home, Black said.

Arianna was taken by ambulance to the Spring Hill hospital.

"It is just another testament to how quickly children move," Black said Monday. "One second out of sight, and it is incredible what they can get into."

Duane Bourne can be reached at (352) 754-6114 or dbournesptimes.com.

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