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Detectives Investigate Drowning Of 7-Year-Old Autistic Boy In Unincorporated Seminole

Detectives Investigate Drowning Of 7-Year-Old Autistic Boy In Unincorporated Seminole

Detectives assigned to the Crimes Against Children Unit are investigating the drowning of a 7-year-old autistic child who was found lying face down in a residential pool in unincorporated Seminole.

According to detectives, 7-year-old Artemio Shkulaku was with his father, 38-year-old Agron Shkulaku his mother 33-year-old Dangela Shkulaku and grandmother at 8352 95th Terrace, in unincorporated Seminole.

Artemio was reported to have snuck out of the residence through a side door of the home. Artemio wandered off for several minutes undetected while Agron his father was working on the opposite side of the home.

Detectives say the grandmother alerted Agron and Dangela that Artemio was missing. Agron, Dangela, and neighbors went looking for him and notified deputies approximately 30 minutes later, who joined the search.  The Pinellas County Flight Unit assisted in the search utilizing a helicopter.

Deputies say there was an apparent language barrier which contributed to the delay of deputies being notified. Deputies responded at approximately 8:17 p.m. on Saturday, July 8, 2017.

Neighbors alerted deputies on scene they found Artemio lying face down in a residential pool at 8352 95th Terrace directly across the street from the child’s residence of 8353 95th Terrace shortly prior to 9 p.m.

Neighbors pulled Artemio from the water and performed CPR until deputies and later Seminole Fire Rescue continued rescue efforts.

Artemio was unresponsive and transported by Sunstar Paramedics to Largo Medical Center
Hospital in cardiac arrest. Artemio was pronounced deceased at the hospital at 10:00 p.m.

Detectives said that the incident appears to be accidental in nature.

The investigation continues.

According to a March 2017 study published in the American Journal of Public Health, almost half (46 per cent) of unintentional injury deaths for those with autism occurred by drowning.  It described the “danger years” between ages five to seven.  When compared with typically developing peers, researchers found that children with autism drown 160 times more frequently.

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