Surveillance video shows minutes leading up to near drowning at Augusta Mall

News 12 First at Five / Friday, August 30, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Surveillance video shows a mother's panic setting in as she wanders around the play area at the Augusta Mall looking for her daughter.

"Just three to four seconds and we start seeing Mama in video footage looking for her daughter," Sgt. Shane McDaniel described.

The time stamp shows 4:34 p.m. Wednesday afternoon as footage shows 2-year-old Alayna Ishmael leaving the playground, heading straight for the mall fountain, turning a mother's worst nightmare into reality.

"The mother was very distraught. She couldn't locate her daughter. You can tell in the footage itself, the way it was related to us that she was in panic mode looking for her daughter," McDaniel said.

Minutes later a bystander spotted the child.

"I looked over, and I saw this child floating face down in the water," remembers bystander Laurie Newman, who also happened to be a nurse.

It was a split second decision for Newman. She didn't know where the child's mother was, but she knew what she had to do.

"Immediately threw my purse down, threw my phone in my pocket, and ran over there and grabbed the child, and I started CPR," she said.

Quick thinking from the nurse saved the quick moving toddler.

"Children today, two years old, they're very fast. I mean, they can get out of your eyesight just like that," McDaniel said.

While the Sheriff's Office recognizes it's a parent's job to look after her child, they say no charges will be filed against the mother, in big part due to the surveillance video.

"Which is enough reason for us to believe there's no malicious intent there. There's no reason to believe foul play there. She's a genuinely concerned parent, mom searching for her daughter," McDaniel explained.

Investigators are still working with mall security, checking into whether there's another surveillance video that could show a different angle and explain more. They'll be looking at that next week.


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