Foster parent charged after 2-year-old drowns in community pool - FOX Carolina 21

Foster parent charged after 2-year-old drowns in community pool

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Za'Marion Wilcox (Source: Family) Za'Marion Wilcox (Source: Family)
A toddler drowned at a Greenville community pool. (FOX Carolina/ 9/4/16) A toddler drowned at a Greenville community pool. (FOX Carolina/ 9/4/16)
A toddler drowned at a Greenville community pool. (FOX Carolina/ 9/4/16) A toddler drowned at a Greenville community pool. (FOX Carolina/ 9/4/16)
A toddler drowned at a Greenville community pool. (FOX Carolina/ 9/4/16) A toddler drowned at a Greenville community pool. (FOX Carolina/ 9/4/16)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A community pool in Greenville County became the scene of a tragic incident when the coroner said a 2-year-old boy fell into the water and drowned.

The coroner responded to the scene at 721 Duncan Chapel Road in the Partridge Ridge subdivision in Greenville just before 8 p.m. on Sunday, September 4.

Coroner Parks Evans said Za'Marion Wilcox was at the community pool with members of his foster family when he fell into the water. One of his foster parents pulled him from the water and community members at the pool began administering CPR until paramedics arrived. Medics then rushed him to the hospital, where Evans said the toddler was pronounced dead at 8:40 p.m.

Evans said an autopsy performed on September 5 confirmed drowning as the cause of death and the nature of the death was determined to be accidental.

On Tuesday, December 6, deputies confirmed the victim's foster parent, 37-year-old Travis Henry Wagner, is charged with homicide by child abuse.

Deputies said Wagner was charged because he failed to supervise Za'Marion for a period of time that was significant, allowing him to drown.

The Greenville County Sheriff's Office, the South Carolina Department of Social Services and the Greenville County Coroner's Office continue to investigate.

Karen Wingo, Director of Communications and Legislative Affairs for SC DSS, released this statement about the incident.

On September 4, 2016, the Department of Social Services received a report that a toddler in foster care in Greenville County had passed away due to an apparent drowning.  DSS staff responded immediately to the report to provide support and resources for all affected by the tragedy. The Department is currently conducting an investigation into the incident and cooperating with law enforcement. 

Community activist Bruce Wilson, founder of Fighting Injustice Together, released the following statement from Za'Marion's biological family.

“We ask for and appreciate the privacy while we lay our son to rest.

Neither Ms. Njamena Wilcox, nor anyone from the family will be speaking publicly; they simply cannot at this time.

There will be a time to ask tough questions about how this tragic death happened, and the family plans to pursue those answers, but today we mourn Za'Marion's loss.”

Wilson later stated that his organization was demanding that another Wilcox child currently in the foster system be returned to the family.

With the tragic death of 2 year old Za'Marion Wilcox,  while in the custody of DSS, we plan to directly, immediately and to voice-fully ask and demand that the other Wilcox child that is currently in DSS's custody,  be immediately release to a family of member of the Wilcox family. It is evident that DSS does not have the capability nor resources to properly protect children in their care.

We will help the Wilcox family seek legal remedy if necessary.

Za'Marion would have turned 3 on September 20.

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