May 31—LENOIR — Tragedy struck over the weekend as a 3-year-old boy lost his life in a pool accident in his family's backyard, investigators said.
According to Caldwell County sheriff's Capt. Aaron Barlowe, the boy, named Dawson, was found in the above-ground pool at a home on Woodmont Court in Lenoir early Sunday morning (May 28).
Barlowe said authorities are still investigating how exactly the boy ended up in the pool.
A family member of Dawson who wished to remain anonymous spoke to the News-Topic about the precautions that were previously set in place at the home to prevent a tragedy like this one.
"We have cameras all over the place," they said. "There was a child-safety gate. There's a better one, now. Those don't work as well as we'd all like for them to work. There was a child-safety latch on the inside of the door ... There are lots of upgrades that we are doing to it. We're doing what we can. We want it to be safe for everybody. We were doing all the safety precautions we could with the funding that we've had."
This relative speculated that, the morning Dawson drowned, he had somehow gotten out of the house and was playing with a toy beside the pool.
"The best I can hypothesize is, he got out somehow and he came down [the steps] and he probably wiggled the gate until it got loose," the relative continued. "I figured he was playing with a pool toy and fell in. The day that he fell in, it was very rainy, which we all know makes wood slippery.
"We can all sit here and say, 'What if we had done this, what if we had done that?' There's a whole lot of 'what-ifs,' but no matter what, it's not going to bring him back to us," they continued. "It's not going to fix the tragedy that happened. There's no fixing it. We can better prepare, but we didn't want it to happen."
The family member remembers Dawson as a "loving, caring baby."
"We love Dawson," they said. "He was a very sweet kid. He was very quiet. He was autistic, so he mostly sat and played by himself. He was curious, like any toddler. He loved fishes and firetrucks. He was a typical, sweet, loving baby."
Caldwell County officials issued the following statement in response to this tragic circumstance:
"As the investigation continues in the case, our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of the child who drowned on Sunday morning."