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Family prepares to say goodbye to special needs drowning victim

Katie Crowther

Family prepares to say goodbye to special needs drowning victim

CREATED Jun. 10, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The family of Donivan Martin is preparing to say a final goodbye. The 16-year-old, who is Autistic and mentally impaired, was found floating face-down in his backyard pool.

Emergency responders rushed to the home, near Lamb and Alexander, on Saturday night.

Doctors at University Medical Center say Donivan is brain dead and on life support.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department's Abuse and Neglect Detail determined what happened was an accident.

Donivan's grandmother, Elizabeth Arredondo, takes care of him. She says she always keeps the door to the pool locked.

She believes Donivan somehow found the key and unlocked the door on his own, which is something he's never done before. She tried to administer CPR before paramedics arrived.

"It's a terrible, horrible tragedy, that just rips my heart out," Arredondo says. "He's going to be sorely missed."

Donivan's family is not alone in their pain. Dozens of children drown each year in Southern Nevada.

Brianna Rukavina is a local drowning prevention advocate. Her 13-month-old daughter Clayre drowned in her backyard pool five years ago. This year would have marked her sixth birthday.

"It is every parent's worst nightmare and I have to deal with that nightmare every single day," she says. "It's absolutely haunting. There was a piece of me that was lost that day. Parents need to understand how quickly it can happen to good people."
   
Brianna started The Clayre Foundation to raise awareness and help more families install pool safety fences.

She says drowning prevention is rooted in the layers of protection known as the "ABCD's."

"A" stands for Adult Supervision.
"B" stands for Barriers - like locks and fences.
"C" stands for classes -  like CPR & swim lessons.
"D" stand for devices - like life jackets and rescue tools.

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