Grandma of 5-year-old who drowned urges parents to get kids swim lessons

- A family is sharing a message after their loved one drowned in a hotel pool Friday night in Auburn Hills.

Five-year-old Kartier Britton went to the Hilton Suites pool with an adult neighbor, two older children ages 10 and 13, and his brother, 10. The adults were allegedly upstairs while the children played. All of the children were playing by the pool, when Britton ended up under the water.

Investigators say the child was under the water for approximately five minutes before someone pulled him out around 10 p.m.. A guest who happened to be a nurse performed CPR. First responders also performed CPR.

Later, the child was taken to the to St. Joseph's Hospital in Pontiac but did not survive.

5-year-old boy drowned in Auburn Hills hotel pool

"I keep thinking that he's just going to walk through the door," says his grandmother Jowanna McClellan. "I taught his brother, don't come home without your brother. We say our prayer and they walk to school every day and they walk out the door. I ask the Lord (to protect them) and they walk to school.

"Don't come home without your brother. When I got to the hotel after it was over to pick up the other one, he had his shoes in his hand and he looked at me like 'Granny, do you have Karty?' And that was one of the hardest things I've had to tell him. I came back without him."

Investigators turned the case over to the prosecutor for review. Auburn Hills Police say child abuse or neglect charges could apply. The child’s parent or guardian was not present at the hotel when the incident occurred.

"His brother said, 'Granny I just turned my head for a minute' and he said when he went to look for him, he couldn't find him," McClellan says. "Kartier was a boy, a real boy. He jumped, he played, he thought he could do everything, watching his super heroes and stuff. He thought he was a super hero."

Investigators believe he was under water for just five minutes and that guests at the pool pulled him out. A nurse tried CPR, as well as first responders.

McClellan is urging parents to make sure their children go through swimming lessons. The Centers for Disease Control says drowning is the fifth leading cause of injury death in the United States.

"I tell everyone if your kid can't swim, don't send them to these parties," McClellan says. "Because nobody is going to watch them the way you will watch them. You can turn your head and they're gone."

McClellan said that she does not hold anyone responsible in the tragedy.

"The God I serve doesn't take anybody before their time. I am sad. It's not my job to place blame on anybody or judgment," she says.

Family says a viewing will be held on Sunday, October 1 between 1 p.m. & 4 p.m. at the Chapel of Lawrence Moon Funeral Home, located at 268 N. Perry St. in Pontiac.

The family hour will be Monday, October 2 at 10:30 a.m. at Newman AME church. The funeral will follow at 11 a.m.

If you'd like to make a donation to the family to help with Kartier's funeral and burial expenses, you can do so via their GoFundMe account here

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