Tuesday, June 15, 2010

McAllen, Texas: Teen Lance Benson drowns in backyard pool

June 15, 2010 8:19 PM
Lindsay Machak
The Monitor

McALLEN — A family’s night of fun in the pool turned fatal Monday when 15-year old Lance Benson had a seizure and slipped beneath the water’s surface.

His family said the autistic teen suffered from convulsions that caused him to drown in their backyard pool on the 3100 block of Gull Street in McAllen.

Lance wasn’t swimming unattended, his aunt Rosie Garza said. His family was out enjoying the start of summer vacation when his father noticed something was wrong and found him at the bottom of the pool.

“It was an accident,” she said. “They swam every day.”

Garza, 51, of McAllen, recalls how much joy her nephew had when he was in the pool. He learned how to swim at the age of 3, and activities like swimming kept him at ease.

“He didn’t speak but he understood everything,” she said.

Lance was over 6 feet tall, but he knew how dangerous the pool could be and often stayed in the shallow end, Garza said. He was in the pool’s shallow area, where the water is 3 feet deep — when he had the seizure and drowned.

Lance attended Fossum Middle School and was excited every morning about going to school.

“He would put on his backpack and wait for the bus to come,” Garza said. “He really liked school.”

Garza said she would come over to see her two nephews, but it won’t be the same now that Lance is gone.

“He was beautiful,” she said. “I loved him so much.”

McAllen police continue to investigate the incident. No information was available about a possible autopsy or whether any criminal wrongdoing was suspected.