Police: Girl drowns in pool at unlicensed daycare

August 3, 2011 (AURORA, Ill.)

Abigail Holland died Tuesday after she fell into an above-ground swimming pool in the home's backyard. Police say Abigail was one of 10 children being cared for in the home.

The woman in charge was in the process of applying for a daycare license. That application was being reviewed by the Department of Children and Family Services. But during the application process, the provider was told not to take in unrelated children.

At the time of the incident, six unrelated children were at the house.

"Saw the child in the pool. At that point she grabbed the child out of the pool and she began to perform CPR, 911 was called and then the paramedics," said Lt. Pete Inda, Aurora Police Department.

Aurora police found nine other children at the home. Four are related to the homeowner. Neighbors say they would often see children in the yard playing.

"It's just terrible for everyone involved, of course for the family of the child and also for the family who lives there. That's something you never get over," said Ingrid Johnson, neighbor.

DCFS is investigating possible neglect following the death of the girl. The agency had a complaint in June that there was an unlicensed daycare at the home. Department investigators found the claim to be true and an application to be a daycare provider was submitted to DCFS on June 21.

As DCFS investigates, the department's spokesperson reminds all caregivers to take extra care with young children in water.

"No gate or door or latch can protect a child from the danger of drowning. The only answer really is continuous adult supervision," said Kendall Marlowe, DCFS.

Neighbors of the Abigail Holland say she loved water and recall seeing her just a few days ago carrying a balloon from her second birthday party.

"Sweet, precious, larger-than-life little girl. It's just devastating. Just devastating," said Linda Walker, neighbor.

"I feel bad for everybody. There's the other families. Lives are going to be changed forever here and it's too much," said Kent Walker.

DCFS says drowning is the number one cause of death. The agency urges vigilance as a toddler can drown in only 20 seconds.

An autopsy is scheduled.

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