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Neighbors speak after toddler drowns in pond

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Posted at 8:55 PM, May 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-29 22:55:12-04

TAYLORSVILLE, Utah -- An 18-month old Taylorsville boy who fell into his backyard pond died Wednesday morning.

The child was on life support at Primary Children’s Medical Center, according to Unified Police Department officials. The boy was found in a pond Tuesday.

Neighbors call the toddler “Ryder” and said he meant everything to his father.

"I feel more for him than anything, just because I have kids and we all glance down and look away and they disappear," said neighbor Eric Peterson

The boy wandered off Wednesday in the backyard of his home near 3400 West 5700 South.

The child’s father was watching the boy while working on his laptop. Police said the father glanced away for a few minutes and when he looked back he had no idea where the 18-month-old boy was.  After he couldn’t find the boy in the house, he called the grandmother and Unified Police, who found the child submerged in a pond that’s about 4-feet wide, 3-feet deep.

"It's shocking and disheartening, it's hard, it's a family we know and love them, just an amazing family, just a sad tragedy they have to go through," neighbor Gloria Dearden said.

Police said they think Ryder may have been in the water as long as 15 minutes.

"I don't want the dad to beat himself up for the rest of his life for this but he will.  It's sad it happened, it was an accident," said Peterson.

Police agree all signs point to an accident.  Now, in a neighborhood where many children play, it’s been a traumatic wake-up call to all parents.

"It will make us as parents think twice when we have those quiet times to check on our kids, but I don't see as a parent what could have been done differently," Dearden said. "We all take our eyes off our kids for a brief minute, and when we have a quiet moment we don't automatically assume the worst."

Unified Police officials said to never take your eyes off of small children, and if they’re near any body of water, make sure they’re wearing a life vest.