Teen mom, 1-year-old drown in Jacksonville pool

Diana Walker could only describe the little girl and her mother as beautiful.

As she stood overlooking the swimming pool wrapped with police tape, the Jacksonville woman had tears in her eyes, wondering what could have gone wrong. What could have led to two deaths and the discovery of a critically injured friend nearby.

No one else was around when police arrived, responding to a 911 call made by someone police said Wednesday afternoon they couldn’t identify.

It began as a routine swim for Tiffany Sue Cecconi and her 1-year-old daughter, Kaylani. It ended with the apparent drownings of the woman and the “beautiful little girl.”

“They were so wonderful,” said Walker, a family friend of 20 years who helped raise Cecconi. “I’m in shock right now, just devastated. Tiffany was like a daughter to me, since she was a baby.”

Cecconi, 18, and Kaylani were found dead Wednesday afternoon in the community pool of The Cove subdivision on Royal Port Drive off University Boulevard North in Arlington. An 18-year-old friend also was found in critical condition outside the pool. His name was not released, nor were further details about his circumstances or whether he was conscious.

Police said initial indications are of a drowning. But investigators are trying to determine what happened or if there was any foul play, said Lt. Larry Schmitt of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

“We just don’t know what happened,” Schmitt said. “There aren’t a lot of details because everyone involved is either in the hospital or deceased. We’re just trying to piece it together.”

Cecconi was pronounced dead at the scene. Kaylani was transported to a nearby hospital where she died.

Police think the three were alone in the pool shortly after noon Wednesday when the accident occurred. It’s unclear who placed the 911 call. And nobody else was around when police arrived, Schmitt said.

“It’s terrible, and you really feel for their family,” said neighbor Stan Sanders. “You never want to see something like this happen in your community.”

Police don’t know how the victims are connected to the subdivision. But Walker said the three swam at the pool routinely, which is up to 10 feet deep and regularly locked.

Neighbor Ron Phillips said he always sees children break into the pool and swim without supervision. The pool doesn’t have a lifeguard.

“A lot of kids really take advantage of this pool,” he said. “And if anything happens, they panic and make the situation worse.”

A 9-year-old boy was saved from drowning in the same subdivision pool in 2002.

“Everyone in this neighborhood is so close,” said neighbor Sara Schaet, who’s a certified lifeguard. “I wish I could have been there to do some thing. It’s so tragic. We are all just praying for the family.”

Anyone with any information to call the Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500 or e-mail JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org.

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