Advertisement
  1. News

Palm Harbor boy, 2, dies in neighbor's pool after wandering from home

The house where Robert Kibitlewski lived, at 3072 Sugar Bear Trail in Palm Harbor. The 2-year-old apparently drowned in a pool of a house at 3075 Windridge Oaks Drive after wandering from his home Wednesday night.  [MELISSA GOMEZ | Times]
The house where Robert Kibitlewski lived, at 3072 Sugar Bear Trail in Palm Harbor. The 2-year-old apparently drowned in a pool of a house at 3075 Windridge Oaks Drive after wandering from his home Wednesday night. [MELISSA GOMEZ | Times]
Published Jul. 13, 2017

PALM HARBOR — A 2-year-old boy apparently drowned in a neighbor's Palm Harbor pool Wednesday night, minutes after wandering away from his home.

According to Pinellas County deputies, Robert Kibitlewski was in the front yard of his home at 3072 Sugar Bear Trail just after 6:10 p.m. when his grandmother, 48-year-old Janice Kibitlewski, lost sight of him while gathering mail.

The grandmother went back into the house and confirmed with her daughter, 26-year-old Rachelle Kibitlewski, that the child never came inside.

Family members began to search the neighborhood and notified deputies 15 minutes later, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Janice Kibitlewski found the child unresponsive in a neighbor's pool, at 3075 Windridge Oaks Drive, and performed CPR until deputies and paramedics arrived, deputies said.

The child was transported to Mease Countryside Hospital but was pronounced dead shortly before 7 p.m., deputies said.

William Reid, 18, was in the Windridge Oaks Drive house playing video games when he heard screaming.

When he looked outside to the backyard pool, he saw her ripping part of the steel fence surrounding the pool out of the ground.

"When I looked out, the grandma was ripping the fence out," he said Thursday. That was when he first noticed 2-year-old Robert in the pool. By then, deputies were in the neighborhood because the family had reported him missing.

The house is three down and across the street from the Kibitlewski residence in The Groves at Cobbs Landing. The backyard pool appeared to be surrounded by a fence and raised on a concrete slab. The section where Janice Kibitlewski tore it out was still open.

The death appears accidental in nature, deputies said, and an investigation is ongoing.