ONEIDA, Tenn. (WATE) — The Scott County Sheriff’s Office has shared the events that led up to one of its deputies rescuing a 4-year-old child from a pond after she had been reported missing on Sunday.
“These series of events were the perfect storm for a tragedy. However, because of the quick response of the mother to report, the quick response of 911 and law enforcement to act and serve this emergency, and a sense of urgency to find this 4-year-old from all involved, this family was able to escape a common and scary occurrence,” SCSO stated in its release from Sheriff Brian Keeton. “Seconds mattered in this incident and we could have had a different outcome.”
According to SCSO, on Sunday, May 7 around 1:45 p.m. deputies responded to a residence for a report of a missing child in Oneida. Deputies spoke with the mother, whom was described as “frantic” in the report, and gathered information about the child including a physical description. The child, who is autistic, had been missing for 15 minutes.
One of the deputies, Sergeant Chris Russell, began searching the immediate area for the child. Russell traveled down the residential street and found a pond about 100 yards from the home. As he approached the pond, he saw water splashing and movement from a small child’s head.
“He immediately knew this wasn’t normal and he believed that was the missing 4-year-old,” SCSO said. “As Sergeant Russell arrived at the area of the pond he knew the only thing to do was get in the water and scoop the girl to safety, rescuing her from the pond.”
The child was examined by Scott County EMS and was released without serious injury. Oneida Police also responded to the scene at the pond.
Drowning is among the leading causes of death among children ages 1-4 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with most reported fatal and nonfatal drowning incidents occurring in swimming pools.
“We want to commend all involved, especially the action, observation and heroism of Sergeant Chris Russell,” Sheriff Keeton said. “This is a matter we are prayerfully thankful to report and an outcome, we believe, deserves to be met with high praise for its response and successful rescue.”