A Georgia toddler drowned in a swimming pool during a family vacation in Florida, grieving relatives said.
Leland Rudeen, a 2-year-old girl from Cumming, died Thursday, six days after she was found motionless on her second birthday in a swimming pool at a vacation home in Marathon her family rented in the Florida Keys.
The toddler passed away following “devastating” MRI results, according to Facebook post on behalf of her parents, Benjamin Rudeen, and the girl’s mother, Kristan.
“Shortly after the devastating MRI results, as we were preparing to wrap our head around some hard decisions ahead of us, Leland took the choice out of our hands and started her painless decline,” the post read. “Our little princess is resting now.”
The girl’s parents have decided to donate some of her organs to help save other children, according to the post.
“Despite our immense loss we have chosen to do good with what has happened and will be giving up to 6 babies a chance to live because of our most precious angel,” the heartbreaking post continued. “She was always very caring and always wanted to help others. It only seems right that with her death we are giving her the chance to save others.”
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said Leland was airlifted to a Miami hospital on April 9 after she was found in the pool at the family’s vacation rental home in the 100 block of Coco Plum Drive in Marathon.
“According to detectives, adults lost sight of the child before finding her in the pool shortly thereafter,” department officials said in a statement.
Those at the scene began delivering CPR to Leland immediately. She was initially taken to a hospital in Marathon before being airlifted to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, sheriff officials said.
“Foul play is not believed to be a factor in the incident,” investigators said.
Just three days before the horrific find, Benjamin Rudeen posted a photograph of the smiling blonde girl sitting in chair on the beach with her hands in her lap. He then made a desperate plea for help on Sunday.
“Some of you already know that the most loving and happy little girl is fighting for her life from an accident she had on vacation,” Rudeen wrote. “Any help is much appreciated. Leland’s mom and I are grateful for everything. We are just lost right now and we just want our little girl back home with us.”
An online fundraiser set up for Leland had eclipsed $51,000 as of Friday. The girl was celebrating her second birthday the day she was found, according to the campaign organizer.
Plans for a “celebration of life” memorial service for Leland are underway, according to the family’s post.
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