All indications suggest 5-year-old Kesia Kearse appeared to be playing near the water behind her father's Bradenton home Monday afternoon.
"I looked out to the right and I saw in the corner of the lake a little girl playing on the shoreline," said neighbor Les Shedek.
"One of the neighbors I believe said it looked like she was splashing playing," said Lt. John Affolter.
Eyewitnesses say playtime turned tragic in an instant.
"By the time I walked closer to my door, she was all the way in the water and she was pretty deep into the water," Shedek said.
Neighbors called 911, and some even tried to jump in to save her.
"I ran out, I threw the phone and I swam up and I was in the water until the police came, I just ran out of breath," Shedek said.
Unfortunately, they didn't find her. A dive team eventually found the little girl, who drowned in about seven feet of water.
"She was found in the general vicinity where she was last seen," said Affolter.
Investigators say her father and grandmother were home at the time of the accident but it just appears the little girl slipped away for just a moment.
Investigators say Kesia was autistic.
This incident is very similar to something that happened in Pasco County June 3. That's when a 4-year-old autistic boy was found at the bottom of a neighbor's pool just 15 minutes after he was reported missing.
Investigators say the pond behind the little girl's home is shallow, then gets very deep quickly.
"It drops almost dramatically, they said, anywhere from 14 to 20 feet," Affolter said.
The family didn't want to comment on Monday's tragic accident but are undoubtedly in mourning.
"The family is obviously extremely distraught," Affolter said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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