Sheriffs, LAUSD Investigate Drowning Of Autistic Teen In Pool - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Sheriffs, LAUSD Investigate Drowning Of Autistic Teen In Pool

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East Los Angeles, CA - Update From Tony Valdez:

The family of Erick Ortiz is asking if we can help raise money for his funeral.  The family is specifically asking to be included at myfoxla.com.  Ortiz was the intellectually challenged 16-year-old whose body was found at the bottom of the pool at Atlantic Park in East Los Angeles.  Even though the young man was supposed to be accompanied at all times by an LAUSD Teaching Aide, provided by the LAUSD, he was found in the pool at about 1:45 Wednesday afternoon.

The family says it needs help paying for Erick’s funeral. If you are interested in making a contribution to the Erick Ortiz Burial Fund, you can contact Bank of America.


Update From Gigi Graciette:

It was Garfield High School's annual "Global Bash" field trip. A group of students, with adult supervision, traveling only a few blocks from school to the Atlantic Park swimming pool, where lifeguards reportedly were on duty.

But somehow 16-year-old Eric Ortiz, a special needs student with autism, ended up in the deep end of the swimming pool, where he drowned.

The LA County Sheriff's Department, which is investigating the drowning, says they don't know if Ortiz jumped in the pool or was pushed in but attorney Luis Carrillo, who represents Ortiz's family, says how he ended up in the pool doesn't change the fact that the LA Unified School District was negligent.

Carrillo claims the teaching assistant who was assigned to Ortiz full time two years ago had left him unattended.

“The family wants justice", says Carrillo in a written statement. "An independent investigation and answers as to why their child was left alone. The family does NOT want condolences from the LAUSD.”

There has been no official statement on the drowning from the school district.

Meanwhile, Eric's family has scheduled a news conference at their attorney's office for later this morning.


(FOX 11 / CNS) A 16-year-old boy with an intellectual disability drowned during a school visit to a swimming pool in East Los Angeles Wednesday.

The accident happened around 1:45 p.m. during an annual visit by Garfield High School students to the Atlantic Park swimming pool in the 500 block of South Atlantic Boulevard.

The victim was identified by the coroner's office and a lawyer for his family as Eric Ortiz. Lawyer Luis Carillo described Ortiz as a special needs student, who had a full-time teaching assistant assigned to him by the Los Angeles Unified School District for the past two years.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Lt. Eddie Hernandez told news media outlets, investigators were not sure if the victim had jumped or was pushed into the deep end of the pool.

Witnesses said the victim sank, re-surfaced, took a breath and then sank again, Hernandez said.

The victim was pulled from the pool and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to news media outlets.

Carillo said the victim's death was caused by "the negligence of the LAUSD" which knew he could not be left alone "for even a second". Carillo said the victim's family wants an independent investigation into why the victim was unattended at the time of the incident.


There was no immediate response to a call made to a LAUSD official.

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