A one year old was found dead inside a septic tank near his family’s home (Pictures: FDLE / Wesh 2)
The body of a one-year-old was found in a septic tank near his family’s home on Monday, just a day after he was reported missing.
The mother of Jose Lara, a 22-month-old, had gone inside the family’s home on Sunday with Jose’s little sister, leaving the toddler outside to play. But when she headed back outside, she was unable to locate Jose.
Jose was reported missing around 1.45pm, spurring an immediate search with canines. Somewhere between 120 and 140 police officers, firefighters and search and rescue personnel helped in the search for the child.
That search came to a halt when deputies decided to drain the septic tank located about 35 to 40 yards from the family’s Florida home a day after Jose went missing, and found the child’s body inside, Putnam County Sheriff H.D. ‘Gator’ DeLoach shared during a news conference.
When draining the tank officials discovered the tank had been overgrown with weeds, dirt and an old piece of plywood that apparently had been used to cover the tank, the sheriff said.
Officials believe the toddler stepped onto the plywood and fell into the tank, which was sitting at ground level.
The tragic death appears to be an accident, DeLoach said.
‘There’s nothing to indicate that there’s any type of foul play suspected,’ he said, adding that the investigation is ongoing.
DeLoach could not comment on how long the child’s mother had stepped inside for when Jose had wandered off.
‘These things happen in just a blink of an eye, and it’s terribly unfortunate what’s happened here,’ he said during a press conference. ‘It serves as a reminder for all of us who have children and are parents that there’s never an opportunity to leave them unsupervised or take your eyes off them.’
One day after her son’s tragic death his mother spoke with News4JAX about losing her middle child.
Speaking Spanish, Maria Lara talked about how happy of a child her son was.
‘He was you know, always smiling, laughing. We knew him, he would like open his arm and reach and hug anybody,’ Lara told the station. ‘My mom has memories as well. He would see her sweeping and he would bring the dusting pan and just help out. Always happy. Playful.’
Jose’s father had moved to Florida from Honduras several years back, while the mother joined him and the rest of the family last year.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.