October 23, 2020

MOTHER’S HEARTACHE

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Aidan’s family at a loss after water tragedy

Aidan Cupid

She can hardly speak, trembling on the verge of tears from one moment to the next. Shana Pars is outside her Minzett Drive home waiting for Aidan’s father, Keron Cupid, to appear.

“He doesn’t know what to do. He’s taking it so hard,” she said, just able to muster the power of speech herself.

“He was a beautiful little boy, full of love and energy. He touched everybody he met. Everyone
loved him.”
Aidan died on Saturday after getting into difficulties in a pond of water near the family home in Northward.

He was tall for his four years, his mother says, indicating about thigh high against her 5-foot, 9-nch frame. When she and Aidan appeared for his first day at George Town Primary, she continues, “the teacher looked at him and said ‘first grade only’? He’s too big for that.’

“His sister is taking it so hard,” Ms Pars says, motioning toward the family’s flat nearly the end of the cul de sac. Older than her brother the 13-year-old was with Aidan and a group of five or six other neighbourhood children when he slipped into the pond at the nearby construction site.

One neighbour said he had been out for a walk, had returned and was about to shower when a he heard a knock at the door just after 1:30pm.

“I ran out and no one was there, but a boy was in the yard and others were across the street. I asked what was going on and he said someone had fallen into the water. They were knocking on all the doors asking for help”

A part-time firefighter and part-time police officer, the neighbour raced around the corner, through the site entrance and across a hundred yards of mud and rubble to the enormous rectangular pond  surrounded by mountains of dredged aggregate, idle backhoes and a lone “no trespassing” sign.

“Others had started to arrive also, and I tried to organise it a little. I put one guy to the left and one to the right and said we would take turns diving and looking. I asked anyone with a mask, a flashlight, anything to bring it because the water is so murky and deep. You get just under the surface and all the light dissipates.”

The pond is between 25 feet and 35 feet deep, he said, judging by the surrounding piles of sand and stone, and the watermarks extending up to the hydraulic pumps on the backhoes.

A no trespass sign near to the pond

Already 10 minutes had elapsed since Aidan had vanished beneath the water, he said, ”then it was 15 minutes and 20 minutes, and we couldn’t find him. You keep going though, you want to keep going just because you never know, because you might find something. You don’t want to give up.

“I knew him,” he said of Aidan. “He had been part of the neighbourhood, playing, riding up and down with all the others, I had seen him just that morning in the street.”

The first 911 call was placed by the sister. A second one was quickly placed by another neighbour, immediately adjacent to the site. Police appeared about 20 minutes later and took another 30 minutes to find the body.

“I am so upset with the developer, I don’t know what to say,” Ms Pars says, nodding at the street and envisioning the activity. “The neighbourhood is filled with children, riding bicycles and scooters up and down. The parents are outside in the yards, watching and talking.

“He was a joy and now I don’t know what to do,” she said, her eyes drifting, losing focus, staring absently at her cellphone. “There are so many children, and there is no fence there and no 4-year-old can read a ‘no trespassing’ sign.

“And then there are explosions as they dig out over there. It rattles the walls of the house and you don’t know what’s going on.”

Shana Pars can barely describe what happens next.

“We have to wait till Thursday before they release the body,” she said, clinging hard to her composure. “They have to do an autopsy.”

Already, she has had visits from Bodden Town MLAs Dwayne Seymour and Mark Scotland, Minster for Education Rolston Anglin and Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues, and Deputy Governor Franz Manderson.

Ms Pars declined to be photographed, almost inaudibly offering “this isn’t a good time. Maybe in the next couple of days.”

Police say enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing and further details will be made available in due course.

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