A four-year-old boy who managed to get into his backyard died from an apparent drowning on Monday morning. The Williamson County Sheriff's Office says EMS rushed the from his Round Rock home him to Dell Children’s Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
“He always liked to stand right there beside you,” says his grandmother Gina Valdez. To her grandson, AJ Hyder, she was Momo. “Just a sweet little boy, always laughing, he was probably the loudest person in the house because he had the biggest personality, there wasn't much you couldn't love about him,” she says about the 4-year-old boy.
Gina's says her daughter Leah and Leah’s 2 boys moved into Gina’s Round Rock home a few years ago, after a difficult relationship with the children's father ended. “They were all so little, just one of those things. Mom and dad didn't work out and Leah and the boys needed a place to live,” says Gina adding, “so what better place than to come stay at your parents to get back on your feet.”
Gina says on Monday, Leah and 4-year-old AJ were lying down together before she had to take him to school. “When she got up he wasn't there,” Gina says after a long pause, adding, “that's when she found him.”
“We've got child locks on the door and outside door going to the back yard,” Gina says they are always secure.
“He's never opened the door before,” Gina says, “he's never gone out of the house, there was nothing out of the norm, we don't know how he got out of the door.”
While the family may never know, there is one thing Gina is sure of at this most difficult moment. “All of our kids and grandkids are around here and it helps to keep us as a strong family and we have a lot of extended family from various groups we're involved in. There's been such an outpouring of love and generosity from everyone we know.”
Love for the little boy, “We just miss him at every moment.”
Whose smile his Momo will always cherish.”This is a very tough time for us and we just want to try and get through this the best we can. With all that family we have here and just prepare and do what we need to celebrate his little life.”
Child Protective Services tells Fox 7 they are investigating as they do investigate all child deaths. They also tell Fox 7 Leah and the children’s father did have a history with CPS, but there was not an open case at the time of AJ’s death.
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services lists child drownings as a leading cause of accidental death for kids in Texas. Numbers from the agency show, 107 children drowned in 2016, and 75 in 2015. In 2017, as of March 10, the total was listed as 12. DFPS urges caregivers to follow their tips for keeping children safe around water.