Cops: 4-year-old with autism wanders away from DeKalb apartment, drowns in pond

William Brown, a resident of the East Ponce Village Apartments, said police and rescue crews turned the complex upside down Monday searching for a 4-year-old boy. His body was eventually recovered from the community's retention pond.

Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com

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William Brown, a resident of the East Ponce Village Apartments, said police and rescue crews turned the complex upside down Monday searching for a 4-year-old boy. His body was eventually recovered from the community's retention pond.

Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com

A massive search for a 4-year-old ended in tragedy Tuesday morning when the boy’s body was pulled from a pond behind a DeKalb County apartment building.

DeKalb police asked for the public’s help to locate Kyuss Williams after he wandered away from his family’s home in the East Ponce Village Apartments off Juliette Road around 6:30 p.m. Monday. They called off the search eight hours later when his body was recovered from the community’s retention pond.

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According to police, the boy had autism. His family was visiting relatives at the complex when they noticed he was missing, DeKalb police Chief Mirtha Ramos told reporters at the scene. They searched on their own for about 10 minutes before calling police to help.

“The family was in the residence when they realized the child had left the residence,” Ramos said. “They didn’t know where the child was.”

Credit: WSBTV Videos

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Body of 4-year-old with autism found in pond feet away from DeKalb County home

Credit: WSBTV Videos

William Brown, a resident of the complex, said police combed the area extensively for several hours, shutting down roads and covering every inch of the apartment community. He watched as police dogs entered the pond Monday evening.

“Fire department, helicopter, you name it — they had it out here,” Brown said Tuesday. “They had the dogs, and I think that’s how they knew the baby was in the water.”

Teams of rescuers searched the retention pond in inflated boats. The child’s body was recovered about 2:30 a.m., according to police spokesperson Officer Elise Wells.

Investigators are still looking into the drowning but do not suspect foul play, Wells said. No one was facing charges as of Tuesday afternoon.

“We extend our condolences to Kyuss’ family during this time and we thank everyone who worked to find him,” she said.


WATER SAFETY RESOURCES

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/

Georgia Department of Public Health: dph.georgia.gov/pools

National Drowning Prevention Alliance: ndpa.org

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