Toddler dies after falling into pond at Sugarhouse Park

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Team CoverageEmergency crews responded to a tragic accident at Sugarhouse Park on Sunday. A 17-month-old girl fell into the pond. Efforts to revive her at the scene failed, and she was pronounced dead later at the hospital.

According to police, this is one of those cases where a little bit of inattentiveness by adults apparently had tragic consequences for a child.

Toddler dies after falling into pond at Sugarhouse Park

It happened in the large pond in Sugarhouse Park. Relatives of the little girl, but not her parents, were gathered there for a birthday party that ended in tearful hugs.

Lt. Isaac Atencio of the Salt Lake City Police Department explained, "At one point the family was singing ‘Happy Birthday' and gathered around whoever's birthday it was. The child apparently wandered off, and they were unable to locate that child."

Police say 17-month-old Deja Marie Zubiate was gone a maximum of 10 minutes. A man walking near the pond noticed her floating in less than two feet of water. At first he thought she was a doll.

Witness Maribel Morones said, "He kept staring, and then he thought it was too much to be a doll. He knew it was a little girl. So he immediately ran in. Then he pulled her out, and I guess she was like a different color."

Toddler dies after falling into pond at Sugarhouse Park

Lt. Atencio said, "It's unfortunate, but you can lose track of your children. So it's really important to make sure you keep an eye on kids when you're out this summer."

Bystanders tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until medical workers arrived. The resuscitation effort continued as Deja was taken away by ambulance.

Deja's grandfather, who took her to the park, was so stressed by the incident he experienced chest pains and also had to be taken to the hospital.

Later in the evening, police were able to reach Deja's parents and notify them. No charges are expected.

The funeral for Deja is planned for Thursday. Donations to cover funeral expenses can be made at any Washington Mutual branch in the name of Javier and Rosemarie Zubiate.

The family would also like to extend a very special thanks to the man who pulled Deja out of the water. They never got his name and don't know how to thank him in person.

E-mail: ngonzales

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