SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA.com) — Authorities said a missing 4-year-old boy with autism — who had gone missing Friday afternoon — is dead.
After an aerial search, the missing toddler was found in a pool near his home, presumably drowned.
Despite many efforts to revive and resuscitate the boy, he was declared dead at Henry Mayo Hospital in Valencia, according to the Sheriff’s Dept.
It was unclear how long the boy– now identified as Travis Stratton — had been in the water but he wandered away from his home around 1 p.m.
Stu Mundel, reporting in Sky9, said paramedics could be visibly seen working on the boy and doing CPR and chest compressions. “They are doing everything they can to save the child,” he said.
Stratton had last been seen in the front yard of a home on Oak Valley Road.
Mundel said he was found in a nearby neighbor’s pool and not far from where a command center had been set up to begin a search.
KCAL9’s Randy Paige reports that water is known “to hold a deadly fascination for children with autism.”
According to the National Autism Association, accidental drowning accounted for 91 percent of the total of US deaths in children with autism under 14 years of age and younger.
“We don’t know why people with autism are so fascinated by water, [perhaps because] it’s shiny and beautiful,” said Emily Iland, former president of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Autism Society and the mother of a son with autism.
“Everybody likes water, but most people have alarm bells that ring — this isn’t safe. I don’t know how to swim and people with autism have less alarm bells that ring.”
According to the Autism Wandering Awareness Collaboration, when a child with autism wanders away, search areas with water first.
Paige shared some links that autism experts and many parents say are vital.