August 14, 2009 10:08:00 AM
A Columbus toddler drowned Thursday evening after wandering out of her home and into a next-door neighbor''s backyard pool.
Tamiya Peoples, 18 months, was pronounced dead at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle shortly after she was found at around 6:30 p.m., Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant said. The incident happened in the 1300 block of 11th Avenue North.
"It appears she slipped out of the house and got out there to the pool without her mother''s knowledge," Merchant said.
The child''s mother was helping the family''s other four children get ready for a bath, when Tamiya "slipped away," Merchant said.
A gated fence separates the yards of the two houses, but the gate was open, Merchant said. The above-ground pool does not have a safety fence, he said.
"The family had been over there swimming as recently as the day before yesterday, and spent quite a bit of time over there through the summer," Merchant said. "She was familiar with the pool and its location."
The houses in the neighborhood are "right on top of each other," Merchant said. "You can almost pass a cup of sugar from house to house through the window."
Family members found the child in the pool after they discovered she was missing, Merchant said.
The incident was the second to claim the life of a Columbus toddler this week. Tuesday evening, 3-year-old Landon Lowell Boyles-Jordan died of smoke inhalation in an accidental fire that broke out in a Sand Road mobile home.
"It''s been a brutal week," Merchant said.
The investigation into Thursday''s incident is ongoing.
1. Coach Marsh will be remembered COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY