Local girl drowns behind apartment complex
What started as a normal Sunday afternoon quickly turned into a tragedy when a little girl lost her life, drowning in a creek behind her apartment complex in Gulfport.
“I saw this little boy. I noticed he was soaking wet, so I rolled down my window and asked him ‘why are you wet and where have you been?’ It took this baby about 10 seconds to actually speak to me. You could tell he was in shock, you could tell something wasn’t right and he told me ‘my best friend drowned, my best friend, my girlfriend, she drowned.'”
Shocking words to process as Lakita Washington was dropping a friend off after church Sunday at Ashton Park Apartments in Gulfport, but she and her friend rushed into action, calling 911 and doing what they could to help the little boy find his friend. “I asked him, show me where she is, and when we got to the fence I didn’t even see the hole right away. I was like how did ya’ll even get in there like show me how. So, he showed me the hole in the fence, and I had to crawl under there, and it was going in a downhill slope. Everything was slippery. There were prickly things stuck to my feet because I had to take my shoes off and it was scary and I was like what are you guys doing over here? He said we tried to get the basketball. He showed me where the basketball was and I was like where was the last time you saw her, so he had to show me. We had to walk from the basketball from five to six feet over to the left where he last saw her but the water was still.”
But, it was too late. The nine-year-old girl had drowned. Washington says it took first responders about 20 minutes to recover the little girl’s body from the creek behind Ashton Park Apartments. That little girl, known as Cupcake by those who knew her well, Ke’myrah Jefferson had just celebrated her ninth birthday at the beginning of this month.
While her death has been ruled accidental, it’s a heartbreaking situation for everyone involved and one Lakita Washington will never forget. “I don’t want to blame the baby because he didn’t know. He did all he could do to save his friend. I just feel that parents need to teach their children in a situation like this. I think you should run to get help. Maybe an adult could help the situation quicker than what a child might think. I think we need to teach our children to swim. That is very important.”