Guadalupe child drowning raises concerns about canal safety - East Valley Tribune: Phoenix & The Valley Of The Sun

Guadalupe child drowning raises concerns about canal safety

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Posted: Saturday, April 14, 2012 10:30 am | Updated: 9:25 am, Sun Apr 15, 2012.

Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office are continuing to investigate the drowning of a 2-year-old boy in Guadalupe whose funeral was held at Santa Lucia Church on Friday, a week after his body was pulled out of a canal by one of the child’s family members.

The tragedy has raised more concerns for town officials, who say some kind of barrier needs to be put in place along that portion of the canal, which at least one town council member described as a safety hazard.

The drowning victim, who was identified as Cisco Mesquita, was pronounced dead at Banner Cardon Children’s Medical Center in Mesa on April 6, soon after his body was discovered in the Highline portion of the SRP canal near Baseline Road and Avenida Del Yacqui. He is believed to be the first child who drowned in the canal in Guadalupe, an area of the canal that is dangerous and badly needs a barrier, said Andrew Sanchez, a town councilman for Guadalupe.

Cisco’s family reported him missing about 6 p.m. April 6, and the toddler was discovered floating in the canal about a half hour later, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

That portion of the canal, which is owned and maintained by SRP, did not have any barriers around it, and there have been previous concerns about safety issues involving the canal, according to Sanchez.

“It’s a tragic event,” Sanchez said. “The family is distraught. “Some kind of barrier does need to be put in place. This was something that should have been done a long time ago. It’s going to have to be done. It’s not an option anymore.”

The canal is less than a mile from the boy’s home. It is not known how the boy left the house or how long he was gone.

Patty Garcia-Likens, a spokeswoman for SRP, told the Tribune on Friday that she did not believe that SRP was going to add any barriers or change anything along the Highline section of the canal through Guadalupe.

There are 131 miles of canal property owned by SRP in Maricopa County, according to SRP.

Drowning statistics along the canal were not available on Friday.

On Thursday, Sanchez said more than $600 was raised during a car wash at the Town of Guadalupe Fire Department to help cover the funeral expenses for Cisco. A memorial account, the Cisco Mesquita Memorial Fund, also has been set up at the Bank of America for donations to help the family with expenses, Sanchez said.

“We do not have the richest people in our community, but something needs to be done to ensure the safety of the people who live here,” Sanchez said.

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