A four-year-old girl is dead after being found face down in the family's backyard pool. Her family describes Autumn Trudell as a beautiful young girl who was full of life.
NBC25 spoke with her aunt and uncle who said they were too emotional to go on camera. They both said the family is struggling as they now plan the young girl's funeral. Midland County Sheriff Scott Stephenson calls Autumn's death a tragic accident.
"They noticed after a few minutes that the 4-year-old was missing, they started to search the area, and unfortunately they found the little girl in the pool," said Sheriff Stephenson.
Sheriff Stephenson says the 16-year old sister was watching her 3 younger siblings at their Jerome Township home, along with two other young children. She was cleaning dishes after they'd all had dinner together, but during that time some of the kids went back outside to play, including Autumn.
"Children can drown very quickly, sometimes without shouting or crying out for help," said Sheriff Stephenson.
The sheriff says what happened at this home is a horrible reminder of the things that can be done to help prevent these tragedies. He says in this case fully enclosing the pool with a fence could have made the difference.
"The yard was fenced in partially, but it was just a privacy fence and we noticed there was a section missing on it. However the pool itself did not have a gate or a fence around the pool," said Sheriff Stephenson.
The head lifeguard at Midland's Plymouth Pool says every second counts after a child goes under water, and the only way to be ready is to always be watching.
"If we're not watching we could miss the first parts of it are crucial, you want to make sure you get them out as fast as you can so they don't swallow any water and sink," said Kellsey Smith, Lifeguard.
While Sheriff Stephenson believes four-year-old Autumn drowned he says an autopsy is scheduled, and they will do a full investigation.