MALDEN, Mass. — A five-year-old child pulled from a pool in Malden later died of his injuries, police tell Boston 25 News.
The boy, identified by family members as Jeremiah Joseph, was playing at a relative's house when he got away and into a neighbor's backyard.
He was reported missing shortly before noon Thursday from a Princeton Road home, authorities said.
His family said Jeremiah didn't know how to swim but loved swimming pools.
"They've been with me for awhile. I feel like it's my own son," said the boy's aunt, Nadege Vital.
Vital said her nephew always asked about her swimming pool. She got rid of her pool behind her house because she thought it was too dangerous.
She never expected Jeremiah to get away, and wander over into the next door neighbor's pool.
"They told me they found him in the pool. I don't know--there's no way. I don't know why," Vital said.
The boy's mother was at the house next door, where they used to live, visiting relatives. The boy's cousin, Dieutson Francois, says the child went into the backyard to play and was only gone a few minutes before his mother started to panic.
Francois said the family looked up and down the street for the boy until he spotted the boy's shoes near the pool. When he saw his little cousin several feet under water, he dove in and pulled him to the surface.
Two neighbors, who happened to be recent nursing school grads, rushed in to help.
The women, along with first responders, tried to resuscitate the boy as he was rushed to Melrose-Wakefield Hospital.
The boy was pronounced dead around 1 p.m.
Police tape and a heavy police presence could be seen surrounding the house as Sky 25 flew over the scene Thursday afternoon.
"I had seen the little boy outside about 9:15 - 9:30," neighbor Nicole Barretto said. "I heard a bunch of splashing and a scream."
At first, it was curiosity for neighbors, then it was concern.
"I ran in the back and I saw everybody crowding over a little boy," neighbor Shannon Gibson said.
But even after he was rushed to the hospital, Francois was still trying to piece together how he got into the pool.
"I don't think he climbed it because the fence is pretty high, but I don't know how he got on the other side," Francois said.
Jeremiah's great uncle, Prosper Previlon, had a message for the public.
"It's important for every parent to know that when you're having your eye on your kid, it has to be every single second. It has to be every single minute," Previlon said.
Police say no foul play is suspected.
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