The Bradenton retention pond where officials say a young autistic girl fell in and drowned Monday afternoon.
Bradenton, Florida - A Bradenton community mourns the drowning of a 5-year-old autistic girl Monday afternoon. Police say the child drowned in a retention pond behind the family's home.
See Also: Safety tips for children with autism
According to police, the child had been staying with her father, grandmother and several older children in the home on 45th Street East. Police say she wandered out through the sliding glass door, walked behind the neighbor's pool cage and into the pond.
Les Shedek lives across the pond and says he was packing up some things when he spotted the little girl near the water. Shedek saw a pool man near the girl and assumed that was her father, but when the little girl disappeared he shouted out to the man if he had seen the girl.
Shedek says that's when they realized she must have gone in the water and both men jumped in to find her, but he says the water was too murky and too deep to see anything.
The Manatee Sheriff's Office dive team picked up the search and about an hour later and found the girl's body in seven feet of water.
"I really wanted to see her make it out. It's horrible," says a tearful Shedek.
Police say they will release the girl's name after her mother is notified, who is currently out of town.
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