A 3-year-old Staten Island, New York boy drowned Thursday in a swimming pool at a daycare center where his mother works as an attendant.
Edward Harris slipped and fell into an above ground pool behind Mother Byrd Group Family Daycare center in Mariners Harbor after his father, Robert Battipaglia, allegedly left him alone in the play area while he waited for the boy's mother to get off work.
His mother, 23-year-old Maria Johnson, was supposed to be watching him, Battipaglia told the New York Daily News. Johnson claims Battipaglia never told her their son was back there.
“I thought his mother would know and watch. I yelled at her through an open window that he was there. She said, ‘Yes,’” he said.
Johnson says she was on the phone and looked out of a back window to see her son in the pool.
“I had to jump in the water and pull him out. He was floating. I put him on his side and his father had to do CPR on him,” Johnson told the Daily News, which notes that she appeared to be in shock.
“I did all I could. I did chest compressions forever. He threw up on my shirt,” Battipaglia said in tears. “I tried to bring him back.”
Edward was pronounced dead at Richmond University Medical Center at 6 p.m.
Battipaglia said he didn’t even know there was a pool in the center’s backyard.
“He was alone,” Battipaglia said while holding his 8-month-old daughter, Pearl.
“He was my son. He was my best friend,” said Battipaglia, who adopted the Edward after marrying Johnson.
“This is the worst day of my life,” he said. “I want to die.”
“He was a good, happy boy,” Johnson said. “Now I have to wait for the autopsy. He was my only son.”
No one was immediately charged in the boy’s death.
Image credit: Tricia Banks, Google Maps