Neighbor blames Wal-Mart in child's death - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Neighbor blames Wal-Mart in child's death

Frederico Barajas, 5, was playing near the 30 inch pipe Saturday when rushing rainwater swept him into it and carried him underground. Frederico Barajas, 5, was playing near the 30 inch pipe Saturday when rushing rainwater swept him into it and carried him underground.

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MILLINGTON, TN (WMC-TV) - Neighbors are asking why a drainage ditch wasn't better protected, after a 5-year-old boy was swept into the ditch and died over the weekend.

Frederico Barajas, 5, was playing near the 30 inch pipe Saturday when rushing rainwater swept him into it and carried him underground.  His father found him when the current eventually carried him out of the pipe.

Barajas was rushed to Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center, where he later died.

Monday, Stephen Frey said the death of his neighbor could have been avoided.  Frey blames Wal-Mart for the accident, because, he said, the company did not have a grate over the large pipe.

"It makes me feel sick," he said. "That should have never happened. Walmart should have known that something like this could happen."

Millington Mayor Richard Hodges said the little boy's death was an unfortunate incident.

"If there had been a grate over it, I don't know how he would have got out the water.  It was flowing so fast," he said.

But, Hodges said the city was not responsible.

"It's on private property, and I'm sure Wal-Mart built that to code," he said. "So if they built it to code and it's doing it's job, should a 5-year-old be around something like that?"

Wal-Mart wouldn't say whether the property is public or private.  However, a spokesperson released said in a statement, "Safety and security is always a top priority for Wal-Mart. We will, of course, evaluate what, how and why this may have happened and partner with the city to determine how best to address the matter going forward."

"How can it not be their fault?" Frey asked. "It's not their fault it rained, or the kid got swept in. But there should have been something there to prevent it from happening."

Hodges said preventing a similar accident in the future was a priority.

"If it's something that can be done to prevent it down the road, we need to look at it," he said. "Maybe we'll have to change ordinances or something."

"It's a sorry thing that happened," Frey said. "It shouldn't have happened, and they need to get on the ball with this problem so it doesn't happen again."

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