Toddler’s fall into hot tub, death captured on surveillance video

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Surveillance video may have helped police decide to charge Vanessa Loftis with one count of child abuse/neglect with substantial bodily harm.  

“That’s what this case is about. It’s about negligence. It’s about not paying attention. It’s about not being focused and protecting and caring for children,” said Steve Wolfson, Clark County District Attorney.

The incident happened on Aug. 3.  According to an arrest report released Monday, the surveillance video came from the pool area of the apartment complex where the toddler fell into the hot tub and died.

The report said when officers reviewed the video they saw the toddler in a hot tub with nine other unsupervised children.  The video showed simultaneously, as the last child was exiting the hot tub, the 2-year-old boy lost his balance and fell into a deep section of the tub beyond the seating area. 

Officers say the child struggled and gasped for air as he struggled to stay afloat.  Nearly 15 minutes later the mother found her son floating face down in the hot tub.  The report said she immediately jumped in to try to and save him.

Burke Hall, the father of the child, who wasn’t home when the drowning happened, said the child usually wore flotation devices.  However, when asked about the child’s floaties, Loftis said she didn’t put them on the child because they had popped.

Metro said it reviewed older video footage of Loftis at the pool with her kids and in that footage the toddler was wearing flotation devices and rarely left alone.  Loftis told officers she usually took her children to the pool with her when she went for a swim.  

Safe water advocates say kids should always be supervised in and around water.

“That’s not the case. When a child goes under water their first instant or only instinct is to take a breath they do that and disappear unnoticed,” said Greg Blackburn, Southern Nevada Child Drowning Prevention Coalition.

A warrant was issued for Loftis’ arrest, so she surrendered herself to the Clark County Detention Center on Sept. 17, 2015.

Loftis’ bail was set at $20,000. She is scheduled to be in court for a preliminary hearing sometime in December. 

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