After a missing toddler drowned in his swimming pool on April 1, a man in Virginia Beach, Virginia, tore down the pool the next day.
“Robyn and I showed up this morning to try to speak with the parents of the young girl and instead first found Mr. Dillard and his family. Tearing down the pool, once filled with happy memories, that a little girl had drowned in the night before,” local photographer Kristen Zels described on social media before deleting the post, reports the Independent Journal Review.
The toddler, who was in her grandmother's care, was found in the pool 20 minutes after she’d been reported missing on the evening of April 1, reports The Virginian-Pilot. She died later at a hospital.
Kevin Dillard, the owner of the pool, said he had arrived home to find police in his backyard. It is unclear how the child got into the pool. The child and her grandmother have not been named in media reports.
“It devastates the hell out of me,” Dillard explained.
“They have to look at that pool every day,” he said of the girl's family. “I’m not doing that to them. I’m not doing that to me.”
Even though 13,500-gallon pool had been a part of his yard since he moved in two years ago, Dillard and his family members spent April 2 tearing it down.
“He’s got the biggest heart,” Dillard's niece, Katrina Taylor said, while she watched and helped.
She and many others have arrived at 6 a.m. that day just to get rid of the pool
“If it was in the ground, we would have filled it with dirt, covered it and covered it with cement,” she added.
This is the second time a child has died in the area in the past year.
In September 2015, around 2 miles away from Dillard’s home, 7-year-old Kaitlynn King died after being found in her neighbor’s pool.
While it’s never been considered a topic of discussion before, authorities are now considering talking about pool safety at major town meetings.
“It very well may in the future,” said Carol Daniels, the acting president of the Charlestowne Area Civic League. “It’s just a safety issue, something we all need to be aware of.”