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Jan 30, 2017

A Baby Boy’s Tragic Drowning in Maya Mopan

Edwin Lorenzo Duarte

The community of Maya Mopan, located about a mile outside of downtown Belmopan, witnessed tragedy on Saturday afternoon. Eighteen-month-old Edwin Lorenzo Duarte was playing near a well at the back of the family’s residence on La Mux Street, when he apparently fell inside, drowning in the water. He died on arrival at Western Regional Hospital in Belmopan, about an hour after screaming alerted his mother, Lorena Duarte, of impending tragedy. Family today questioned the response of hospital personnel, but mostly they are trying to come to grips with a heart-breaking end for a playful child beloved by all. Aaron Humes has the story from Belmopan.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

He had only just begun to live, but tonight in Belmopan, the family of eighteen-month-old Edwin Lorenzo Duarte of La Mux Street in the Maya Mopan subdivision of Belmopan, will be mourning his death. Its circumstances are inexplicable: somehow, his family members lost sight of him playing behind the home, and the terrible result has left them bereft and trying to pick up the pieces.

 

Reporter

“How did you first learn there was trouble?”

 

Antonette Can, Aunt of Edwin Duarte

“Because I was feeding my baby, and when I heard my mother start to scream, I hurry run to the back there and I saw my little nephew in the well.”

 

Reporter

“When was the last time you saw him before they found him in the well?”

 

Antonette Can

Antonette Can

“Well, it was like around twelve, it was.”

 

Reporter

“So about five minutes, ten, fifteen minutes?”

 

Antonette Can

“Like fifteen minutes.”

 

That was long enough for Edwin to ingest water, twenty-five feet down, and turn blue. A neighbour came to the rescue and the baby was rushed to the Western Regional Hospital, but while he was fighting for his life, precious seconds were lost.

 

Reporter

“What happened between here and hospital then?”

 

Antonette Can

“Well, when my sister-in-law arrived to the hospital the baby was still breathing, so she went to the Emergency and there was only two doctors there.”

 

Reporter

“And the hospital fell down – they couldn’t decide what they would do?”

 

Antonette Can

“Well, my sister-in-law said when she went to the hospital there was two doctors there, and she told the two doctors; they ran to the general ward so that more doctors came, but when the doctors arrived there the baby was [already] dead.”

 

The well, ringed with stone, existed for some time, and the family used it as their chief water supply source; but it was never covered. After Edwin’s untimely death, that will change. But what will not change is the family’s memory of a little boy who died before he could truly live.

 

Antonette Can

“He was a lovely baby and liked to play with us.”

 

Reporter

“And I’m sure everybody loved him, and he loved everybody.”

 

Antonette Can

“(Nods head) Yeah.”

 

From Maya Mopan, Belmopan, Cayo District, Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

Edwin was Lorena Duarte’s only child with her current partner; he is survived by five siblings, four boys and a girl. The family plans funeral arrangements for Tuesday, while police investigations continue.

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