ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Eight-year-old Shamore Franklin is at Florida Hospital South in critical condition, according to his father, Milton Williams.
On Wednesday morning, Williams came out to the canal area that runs perpendicular to a street near his home. Investigators say the boy was walking from Riverside Elementary School with his 10-year-old brother when he ran ahead to try "a new short cut." Shamore bypassed the 6 foot chain link fence and was walking across a structure over the canal when he fell. According to the incident report, neither Shamore, nor his brother knows how to swim.
Curious as to how his son got injured, father Milton went out to the area where the canal runs. "I want my son to come home. He's in the hospital. He got tubes in his head, tubes running through his stomach," Williams said when asked how Shamore is doing. "He's suffered a lot of brain damage. They don't know to what extent."
Investigators said Tuesday they were told Shamore got through the fence by crawling through a hole in the chain links. Williams couldn't believe what he was seeing. "I see all the holes around here. It should have been well better taken care of. Have you see the hole? It's a huge hole," said Williams.
Orange County Public Works crews spent most of the day repairing holes in the fence, reinforcing other parts of the fence and shoveling dirt in areas where there were divots in the ground. Crews are trying to secure any place someone could get through the fence.
FOX 35's morning crew asked public works storm water management director, Jeff Charles about the hole investigators believe Shamore used to crawl under the fence. "So you have no idea how long that hole has been here, right?" asked Jackie Orozco. "It's probably been here less than a month," said Charles. He said his crews are out at that particular site monthly. "Every time we come out here there's either a fence cut, somebody's pulled it up here from the bottom, we encounter kids here inside the fence and we ask them to leave right away, and adults," said Charles.
Ken Hunter's property borders the fence and the canal. He says he sees both kids and adults back there all the time. "I've caught them crawling under there a lot of time and holler at them you're not supposed to do that, you're not supposed to be in there," said Hunter. He says his thoughts and prayers are with the child that got hurt.
Williams says prayers are exactly what his son needs right now. "He's not moving. They're keeping him asleep, he can't breathe on his own. His heart is beating but because of him dying in the water they don't want to take that chance of him moving," said Williams.