Parents of young drowning victim struggle to cope with loss - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Parents of young drowning victim struggle to cope with loss

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Dawton Smith wandered away from his family on Sunday during a Memorial Day outing at the Cypress Black Bayou Park and Recreation Area. Dawton Smith wandered away from his family on Sunday during a Memorial Day outing at the Cypress Black Bayou Park and Recreation Area.
Alicia and Louis Smith are still struggling to come to grips with the loss of their 7-year-old son Dawton to drowning over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Alicia and Louis Smith are still struggling to come to grips with the loss of their 7-year-old son Dawton to drowning over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

Anything can happen in the blink of an eye.  A local family says they've learned the hard way.  Officials say 7-year-old Dawton Smith wandered away from his family on Sunday during a Memorial Day outing at the Cypress Black Bayou Park and Recreation Area.  His death was ruled as an accidental drowning on Tuesday.

Dawton's parents, Alicia and Louis Smith, are still coming to grips with the tragedy.  "I'll no longer see him on Earth, I'll no longer hold my baby," said Alicia Smith as tears rolled down her cheeks.  "Disbelief that my angel is gone."

Louis Smith said, "He wasn't supposed to live past 5-years-old. I got him until he was 7 and a half."

Dawton was born was Hydrocephalus, a condition which causes fluid to fill the brain and often results in seizures and headaches.  

But those symptoms were no match for Dawton.  His parents say his smiles and happiness saturated his soul and everyone around him. "He wanted everybody around him to laugh," said Alicia. Louis added, "He was my angel from God."

Dawton's 9-year-old sister Anberlee is barely old enough to understand what happened to her brother, but his death raises a particular fear. "He won't remember me," she said.  Anberlee's father Louis reassured his daughter.  "Dawton is always going to remember you sweetie," Louis said. 

As they clutched each other during our interview, they said it's Dawton's spirit that connects them.  If only Dawton could hear them, Louis and Alicia had a special message for their son.

Alicia said, "Mama misses him dearly and Mama loves him."

"I love him and I miss him and I'll see him soon," Louis added.

Alicia then recalled the last time she saw her son. "His last words were, before he disappeared, was 'Mommy, I love you,' and my last words to him were 'Son, I love you too.'"

The Smiths also wanted to stress how important it is for parents and care takers to always keep a watchful eye on their children because it just takes a second for a tragedy to strike.

 

Funeral services are pending, but the family is asking for help paying for those expenses. If you can help, head to Community Bank of Louisiana, 9201 Walker Road Branch in Shreveport. You can make checks payable to: For the Benefit of Dawton Lee Justice Smith.

 

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