SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A 43-year-old Sacramento woman was arrested for felony child endangerment on Wednesday night after her unsupervised 2-year-old son fell into a swimming pool at an apartment complex and nearly drowned, police said.
Choonhwa Lee was booked into the Sacramento County Jail on $50,000 bail.
Police responded to the River Walk Villas apartment complex in the 600 block of Garden Highway shortly after 7 p.m., where the 2-year-old reportedly was left unattended with his 4-year-old brother before falling into the swimming pool.
A woman was walking out of her apartment adjacent to the pool and noticed the child face down in the water.
Elise Nelson isn’t ready to call herself hero. But her quick thinking and action saved the boy’s life.
“I went out to my patio to make a phone call and I saw this little toddler,” she said in an exclusive interview with CBS13’s Ben Sosenko at the apartment complex on Thursday. “He had his face down and there was a bunch of bubbles everywhere.”
Elise ran to the pool. The toddler’s 4-year-old brother was the only other person there. He was holding his brother’s hand in the shallow water and asking for help.
She immediately pulled out the child and began CPR.
“He barely had a pulse and he wasn’t breathing,” she said.
Elise screamed for help as others gathered. Paramedics arrived and the boy was rushed to the hospital.
The boy was released from the hospital on Thursday, police said, and returned to the custody of his father. A resident at the River Walk Villas told CBS13 they say the toddler on Thursday afternoon and he looked just fine. Elise and the boy have since even taken a photo together.
“I still can’t believe he’s alive,” Elise said. “I was really convinced he was dead.”
Elise says the boys’ mother was on the other side of the complex talking on her cell phone when the incident happened.
“I can’t think of any reason any mother would do anything like that, but I can’t speak for her,” she said.
Elise says Lee would have had to let the two young children into the pool area since it’s fenced off.
“They were just sitting in their diapers,” she said.
Elise credits a life-guard class she took when she was 12 years old, which taught her the skills to save a life.
“I did the best I could,” she said.