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Father warns other parents after 3-year-old accidentally drowns

July 31, 2012 |  9:25 am

A Laguna Hills father is warning other parents after his 3-year-old daughter drowned in what authorities are calling a tragic accident.

Ellison Susman drowned in a hot tub on Saturday night at a birthday party for an 11-year-old neighbor, even though her mom had put a life vest on her, the girl's father, Ernie Susman, said.

It happened Saturday night at the Alicia Plaza Apartments in the 25000 block of Stockport Street.

Investigators say 60 people had gathered for the party at the Alicia Plaza Apartments in the the 25000 block of Stockport Street.

"She was just an awesome kid," said Ernie Susman, the girl's father. "I'm going to miss that."

Susman said his daughter was wearing a life preserver when she was walking toward the pool. But sometime before she got into the hot tub, she managed to unclip the vest.

The girl had not been seen for about 15 minutes before she was discovered in the water, said Jim Amormino, spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Susman said his daughter's life preserver was found on the pool deck and his daughter was under the water.

Susman said his wife was breastfeeding another child at the time of the drowning.

"When she got done, she asked everybody, 'Where's Ellison? Where's Ellison?' When she walked around the corner, that's where she found her at the bottom," he said.

Paramedics performed CPR and the girl was taken to Kaiser Permanente medical center in Irvine, Amormino said.

She was then taken to Children's Hospital of Orange County in Orange, where she died on Monday.

As the family grieves, Susman says he has a word of warning for other parents.

"Don't trust these life preservers," he said. "Don't take your eye off your child one second. Don't trust your neighbors thinking that they're gonna keep an eye on your child."


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-- KTLA News