"I screamed at the top of my lungs, 'Why me?'" the heartbroken mother said.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on March 10, 2023. It has since been updated.
A 4-year-old child tragically drowned and died in Florida after he wandered off while his father was taking a nap. Kash Waylan Hodges passed away on March 3, after being discovered in a retention pond behind Celeste's Pet Spa & Mobile Grooming in Gainesville, where his mother Taychianna Figueroa works, CBS station WGFL reported.
The kid "walked down to the water" just before 5 o'clock, according to the Gainesville Police Department (GPD), and fell in, per PEOPLE. Both Kash and his father had dozed off, but Kash woke up from his nap and went outside, per ABC affiliate WCJB.
Just before 5:30 p.m., crews arrived at the site to find the boy unresponsive, according to the GPD. Crews worked to bring the boy back to life, but Shands Hospital declared him dead about 45 minutes later. "No amount of money or materialistic things could ever fix this heartbreak. I can't replace my son," Taychianna said, per WCJB. "I can't think about having another child in his place."
Taychianna claimed she had left Kash with his father that day while she took a lunch break at work. Her kid had vanished when she had come back. "His father shot out this front door so quick, so fast, without hesitation, to find our son. And we're screaming his name and calling," she said.
After a quick search, the parents discovered their son in the retention pond behind Oakwood Commons Shopping Center. Taychianna reportedly felt her heart sink as she witnessed Kash's father pulling the child from the water. “I wish mommy could’ve saved him sooner,” shared Taychianna. “My heart sank when I saw his father pull him out of the water.”
Crews worked to resuscitate Kash before taking him to Shands Hospital. Taychianna shared that shortly after, a doctor informed her they couldn't restart her son's heart. "I lost it," Taychianna told the outlet. "I grieve that day. I screamed at the top of my lungs, 'Why me?'"
On Valentine's Day, Kash had just recently marked his fourth birthday. The young boy was Taychianna's only child, according to a GoFundMe campaign launched by Celeste Gomes, the owner of the pet spa company where Taychianna has worked for the past two months. “We’re all pretty much a small little family here and I’ve only known Kash for a couple of weeks now,” stated business owner Justin Dowdy. “We’ve had a lot of fun outside playing and he’s got some chalk over there by the little sidewalk area that we were sitting over there drawing on the ground so he’s gonna be missed. This was a terrible tragedy.”
Gomes described Taychianna as "an awesome mother," adding, "It is unimaginable to bury your child. I am trying to do everything I can to be by her through this because she is a wonderful friend."
"I will stand by her with everything," Gomes said, adding, "It breaks my heart because I see this little boy every day and he blows me kisses, and I will never see that again."
“Too soon it was too soon,” cried the grieving mother. “He’s supposed to bury us, we’re not supposed to bury him. We’re not supposed to go without him.”
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe