The father of a toddler who drowned after falling into the family's swimming pool late last week spoke Monday about what happened to try to send a message to other parents.
"Things that you don't think can happen absolutely will," Matthew DePasquale said, standing outside his house in Pinellas Park.
DePasquale was on the phone in his house Friday when he took his eye of his little girl, Elianna. By the time he realized she was missing, it was too late. Investigators said the two-year-old had crawled into the yard through a doggy door and fallen into the pool. She was in the water for several minutes before her father found her.
"It's unimaginable. There's no way to describe it," DePasquale said, holding back tears. "She was a very careful girl. We were always so careful with her. She always listened to the rules and still something so unimaginable happened."
Along with DePasquale's sadness, comes regret; the father admits he chose not to install a child safety fence around the pool and now wishes he had.
"It doesn't seem like something when you own a pool that you might not need because you are careful and pay so close attention to it but it only takes one accident, a few seconds and that's it," he said. "Your lives are changed forever."
No charges are expected for DePasquale, who said Elianna's organs were donated so her death could potentially save the lives of others.
The family is now trying to figure out how to pay for Elianna's funeral, which her father expects to cost about $5,500.
Information about that can be found on Elianna's Facebook Page.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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