Horrific Moment Mom Finds Toddler's Limp Body in Pool Caught on Camera


It was June 11, and sisters Tanah Zuniga and Karly James were enjoying the day together at Zuniga’s new home in Fort Worth, Texas. Their boys, cousins and best friends, were playing together in a back room.

Or so they thought. The sisters were shocked, then horrified, when 2-year-old Jalen suddenly walked into the kitchen, soaking wet.

“We both kind of looked at him, and we’re like, why are you wet?” Zuniga recalled. “Next thing you know, he points to the back door and says, ‘Elijah.'”

Surveillance footage captured the awful moments that Jalen and 17-month-old Elijah wandered into the backyard unnoticed.

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They climbed the ladder to the family’s above-ground pool, and fell into the water, both unable to swim.

Elijah was in serious trouble from the beginning, struggling at first before going limp in the water. Video shows little Jalen unable to save his cousin, but somehow managing to climb back out of the water and walk inside to get his mom.

Zuniga and James realized the horror of what had happened, and are seen in the video racing to the backyard. Zuniga grabbed her son’s lifeless body out of the water and called 911.

James, who had previous CPR training, desperately tried to revive her nephew. “When we pulled him out of the water, he was already gone,” James told WFAA-TV.

“He was completely blue. His lips were white. He was not moving. He was not breathing,” said James. “All I knew was to give him air.”

After several agonizing minutes, Elijah began to sputter, cough and breathe on his own. The toddler was taken to the hospital, where doctors said the family was extremely fortunate Elijah did not suffer brain damage, despite being in the water for over five minutes.

“It was the worst experience of my life,” Zuniga said. “You never think it’s going to happen to you.”

The women are counting their blessings, knowing the outcome could have easily been tragic. They hope their story will be a sober reminder to families to prevent pool drownings by watching children at all times.

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“God brought my baby back,” Zuniga said, amazed that Elijah escaped unscathed. “I truly believe that.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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