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Toddler drownings in Escambia County, family member speaks out
ESCAMBIA COUNTY -- A drowning and a near-drowning in the past 24 hours in Escambia County both involved toddlers. The drowning Wednesday night on Betmark Road claimed the life of a fourteen-month-old. The near-drowning this afternoon on Sandra Drive has a 2-year-old in a Pensacola hospital tonight. The sheriff's office hasn't released details yet on the near-drowning this afternoon.
We know the two-year-old was rushed to the hospital, but the hospital is not releasing any further information. As for the drowning last night, the mother is now behind bars.... facing charges for the conditions her four surviving children have been living in.
Jennifer Eiland is charged with child neglect and is being held in the Escambia County jail without bond.
Eiland's children found the toddler in their neighbor's goldfish pond, and immediately rushed to a neighbor for help.
Larry Kruger said, "I was devastated... I think the kids could have been better supervised."
The near drowning in this home on Sandra Drive involved a two-year-old girl. We spoke with a family member who would only tell us the drowning was an accident.
Cyndi Delcher said, "You always think it's not going to happen to me... It can happen in your own backyard."
Cyndi Delcher travels around the county promoting pool safety. Her friend's child drowned in a pool a few years back. As a mother, the incident hit close to home for Delcher.
"All it takes is taking the laundry room... And they're gone, said Delcher.
Delcher says parents need to create layers of protection. Keep doors and windows locked, and have barriers around the pool or any body of water outside the home.
She said, "But nothing ever replaces two eyes on a child."
And it's not just pools parents need to watch out for
A child can drown in a toilet or bath tub you can choke on water and drown, Delcher said.
As for the drowning on Betmark Road, investigators say Eiland's children had been placed in foster care before and were returned in recent months. That drowning and the near-drowning on Sandra Drive are still under investigation.