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4-year old Latina drowns in Columbus, parents struggle with 911

COLUMBUS, May 2, 2007 (AP): A Spanish-speaking couple who had difficulty communicating with an emergency operator took their daughter, who drowned in a pond, to a hospital themselves, according to a 911 tape reviewed by the Columbus daily newspaper.

Jennifer García, 4, was pulled from a retention pond behind the apartment complex where she lived with her mother and stepfather shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2007, said Columbus police homicide detective Pat Dorn.

More than two minutes into the 911 call, operators connect the girl's mother with an interpreter, according to a copy of the tape reviewed by The Columbus Dispatch.

In Spanish, the mother says her daughter is almost dead and needs to go to the hospital right away.

The parents hang up about 50 seconds later, as an interpreter tries to tell them help is coming. Police did not release names of the parents Tuesday night.

Firefighters were dispatched to the home less than a minute into the call, but when they arrived at the home, the parents were gone.

The couple had taken their daughter to a hospital about two minutes from their home. She was pronounced dead at 1:19 p.m.

Police said the girl somehow fell into the pond after going outside to ride her bicycle while her parents remained inside with a younger child.

“They went out to check on her and found her in a retaining pond,'' Dorn said.

On the tape, the stepfather says in English, ``She fall in the water. I don't know how long maybe she stay in the water. Maybe 15 minute or 20 minute ago.''

As an interpreter comes on the line, the stepfather says, ``OK, we're coming to the hospital really fast. Maybe she die. I don't know.''

Information from: The Columbus Dispatch, http://www.dispatch.com






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