FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A 2-year-old has died after being found floating in the water in Fort Lauderdale, authorities confirmed.
“‘How in the hell could this happen?’ That’s all I was thinking. ‘Whose baby is this? How did this happen?’” one witness, Lawrence Ham, told Local 10 News.
Relatives identified the boy to Local 10 News as Cormel Bullock.
“This is my first grandchild and I loved that little boy,” Deborah Titus told Local 10 News through tears.
Titus said she was watching the toddler while his mother was at work, but when she went to the bathroom, she said he walked out of the house and she couldn’t find him.
Surveillance video obtained Wednesday by Local 10 News shows Cormel wandering alone around 9 p.m. near Cooley’s Landing, seemingly trying to play with the ducks on the dock, when he fell in the water.
Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Ali Adamson confirmed that authorities were notified about the incident just after 10 p.m. Tuesday and the toddler was found by officers in the water under the Seventh Avenue Bridge and the New River, near 450 Cooley Ave.
“We were hanging out here on the boat and we heard a lady screaming out for somebody’s name,” Edgar Caceras said. “She asked us if we had seen a toddler or a little boy walking around. My friend and I got off the boat and started helping her look.”
Caceras said the woman was distraught and he offered her a ride back to her place when he saw her walking home, but she told him she lived nearby and didn’t need help.
“Right away when I realized that she went into her place, I wanted to see where she went into so I could call the cops and tell them where to go, because I realized she hadn’t called the cops,” Caceras said.
Jay Lycke lives on a boat just feet away from where the child was found.
“One of the kids screamed, ‘He’s over here, he’s over here,’ because the whole family was over here looking,” Lycke said.
He said he wishes he could have seen it happen so he could have helped.
Adamson said officers performed CPR on the child until Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue officials arrived and took over.
“To see the CPR, it was traumatizing,” Ham said.
First responders confirmed that Cormel was in cardiac arrest when he was found. They transported him to Broward Health Medical Center, where he later died.
Titus said the child’s mother would bring him to a nearby park all of the time, so it’s possible he was walking there.
His great aunt told Local 10 News reporter Ian Margol they are a religious family and are taking comfort in knowing Cormel is getting to meet his great grandmother, who passed away only a few days before he was born two years ago.