Passerby attempts to save drowning boy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Passerby attempts to save drowning boy

Jacoby Walsh was walking along Laird Street Sunday afternoon when he heard the screams.

"She was saying, 'Please call 911. Please call - help me call 911.'"

The screams came from the mother of 14-year-old Elijah Mayes, a boy neighbors said had Down Syndrome.

Mayes, who did not know how to swim, was at the bottom of a deep pool while his mother called out helplessly

"That's when I proceed to jump the gate," Walsh said. "When I jumped the gate, I saw his mom looking down into the pool. He was at the bottom."

Walsh, who's studying to be a police officer at the University of Memphis, immediately jumped in.

"I dived into get him," he said. "The first time I couldn't get him because I wasn't aware how deep the pool was.  When I came back up, I told them once they see my fingers come up grab my arm."

Walsh managed to get him out the water, which he thought was at least eight feet deep.  A neighbor started CPR.

"For a minute he was coughing up water and phlegm," he said. "She couldn't get a pulse on him...still blue in the face."

Paramedics arrived and continued CPR.  They took Mayes to a nearby hospital where doctors later pronounced him dead.

There is a gate between Mayes' home and the home with the pool.  Investigators said that sometime before 4:00pm Sunday, he walked through that gate, which did not appear to be locked.

Monday, inspectors with the home's reality company came out Monday to make it was secure.  According to civil attorney Jeff Rosenblum, the owner of the home could be found liable in a civil court.

"Common law tells us a homeowner needs to do everything in their power to make sure their pool is safe," he said.
According to Rosenblum, a homeowner needs to do everything "reasonable"  to secure a home, even if it goes above and beyond city code.

"The prudent thing do to do would be to have a fence with a lock on it," he said.

Rosenblum said to protect yourself in a court of law, if there are a lot of kids in the neighborhood who try to sneak in to your pool, you may want to even go a step further.

"At that point, you put up a sign and say 'No trespassing,'" he said.

Memphis Police do not suspect foul play in the drowning.

Click here to send an email to Lori Brown.

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