Headline — 26 September 2018 — by Albert J. Ciego
Toddler, 2, falls into vat and drowns

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 24, 2018– Willy Quinocte, 28, a laborer of Belize City, and his family are mourning the death of their baby, Kelvin Sanchez, 2, who drowned after he fell into a vat near the verandah of their house at about 6:00 Saturday evening.

Quinocte recovered the baby from the vat and tried to resuscitate him, but the effort was in vain; an ambulance was called, but nothing could have been done for the baby, and his body was taken to the morgue.

Quinocte said that the drowning of the toddler was an accident, but he is still at a loss as to how the tragedy occurred.

In an interview with us this morning near the family’s home in the Krooman Lagoon area, the devastated father said that he and his common-law wife, Alexie Sanchez, and their son, Kelvin, drove up to their home and she and the baby went ahead to their house while he remained to lock the vehicle and to take the items they had purchased with him into the house.

(Their house is located on a “London Bridge” which passes near to the verandah of his mother-in-law’s house and extends onward to his house, which is about 50 yards behind his mother-in-law’s house, which is in the same yard.)

Quinocte said that he stopped to talk with his neighbor and his mother-in-law before going to his house. Then, on entering his house, he asked for the baby, and Sanchez told him that he was near her, playing, but when he did not see him, he went outside, thinking that the child was playing with the dogs, but Kelvin was nowhere to be seen.

Quinocte then went to his mother-in-law, the baby’s grandmother, to see if he was there, but he was not there, and he went to check the vat, because there was nowhere else to look for him, and that was when he saw his baby at the bottom of the vat, lying face-down. He quickly put on his flashlight so that he could see more clearly, and went down into the vat to recover his son.

Quinocte said that the whole thing happened quickly, within 15 minutes. He arrived home at about 6:00 and at about 6:15, he was recovering his son’s body from the vat. He said that the vat was usually covered, but since it was raining on Saturday, he had opened the vat to catch rainwater. The vat was about 1 foot above the verandah.

In explaining what he believed happened, Quinocte said that the baby may have come out to the verandah, unknown to his mother, who was making supper, and there may have been dogs on the verandah, and he may have been trying to avoid them and moved away to the right, which may have caused him to fall into the vat.

Despite what Quinocte told us, during the weekly police press brief held this afternoon at the Raccoon Street Police Station, ASP Alejandro Cowo said that they are awaiting the result of the post-mortem exam of the toddler’s body, and they will send the file to the Director of Public Prosecution for directives, because they are contemplating charges for neglect of a child.

They have conducted interviews with the parents of the toddler, they said, and after the autopsy result is known, the DPP will decide what charges, if any, will be brought against them.

Cowo said that the baby was along with his mother in the house when he was left alone in the house and she went to her mother’s house because the family was having a family reunion.

A neighbor also told us that the family had been socializing that Saturday evening.

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Deshawn Swasey

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