Aiken toddler found drowned in pool

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March 12, 2007

AIKEN, S.C.---In a tragic accident in Aiken this afternoon, a 20-month-old toddler was found drowned in a pool outside his home.

Rebecca Strickland says she laid down with her son Nicholas to take a nap...and she awoke to any mother's worst nightmare come true.

"He had the sweetest laugh. And I don't ever get to hear it again," she told News 12.

Rebecca put her son down for his afternoon nap and laid down with him.

That would be the last time she saw him alive. Nicholas' lifeless body was found in the family's pool around lunchtime.

"He'll usually wake me up," she said. "He didn't do that today. He um...apparently was grown and climbed out of the bed by himself."

Aiken authorities think Nicholas managed to get outside by climbing out of a doggie door. The family's doors were locked, and the doggie door would have been his only way out.

"I looked for him, searching everywhere in the house, but I didn't want to look in the pool because I was scared. But that's where he was."

Rebecca says she jumped in the pool to save him, but it was too late. EMS responded and three strangers walking down the street stopped to do what they could after hearing his grandmother's screams for help.

"I want to thank them because they were here and they tried to help. There was nothing they could do but they tried and I would love to thank them," Rebecca said.

He was his mother's pride and joy, a beautiful little boy with strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes, gone before his mother could have the chance to see her baby boy grow up into a man.

"The hardest thing will be going back into the house and knowing he's not there and he's not going to be there. And then I have to go to bed and I have to sleep by myself, and that's going to be really hard. And waking up and not having to fix breakfast is going to be really hard."

Rebecca really would like to thank those men who tried to help her and her son, but she didn't get their names.

This is a good reminder to parents to think about the doggie door. It's a danger you wouldn't even think of.

Lots of parents might think locking doors is enough, but in this case the little boy was able to get out that doggie door.

It's a reminder to all parents to take a look around the house...especially if you have a pool in the backyard or a lake nearby.

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