Missing 4-year-old near Quebec City found dead in neighbour's pool
MONTREAL -- The four-year-old girl who went missing Sunday night in Shannon, near Quebec City, was found dead in a neighbour's pool around 12:45 a.m., according to Surete du Quebec (SQ) spokesperson Marie-Michele Moore.
CPR was performed on Lea Fiset's body and she was rushed to a hospital where her death was confirmed overnight, Moore said.
Early Monday morning, police were not in a position to clarify the circumstances surrounding her death. A crime scene technician, investigators and a coroner are on scene, Moore said.
A police operation had been deployed around 5 p.m. on Donaldson St. on Sunday to locate Fiset, who was missing.
Volunteers and SQ officers had been participating in the search and a Canadian Armed Forces helicopter had contributed as well.
Last month, the Quebec branch of the Lifesaving Society -- a drowning prevention organization -- said reported drownings in the province have already surpassed the yearly death toll in each of the past two years.
Numbers in the rest of the country are relatively stable, the organization says, but in Quebec, there's been a dramatic increase in fatalities so far.
As of July 31, the province had already reported at least 60 drownings for the year, compared to 42 at the same time last year. The number is slowly creeping towards the province's yearly average of about 80 drownings per year.
The general manager of the Quebec branch of the Lifesaving Society, Raynald Hawkins, said COVID-19 and multiple heat waves could be to blame for the increase. The better the weather is, the more drownings there are -- and with people forced to stay home due to the pandemic, more people are out on the water, whether in pools or on lakes and rivers.
Hawkins said it's a major problem when children have direct access to pools. Provincial regulations now force people who install pools to fence them off, but a grandfather clause exempted existing pool owners from having to adhere to the new guidelines when they were first introduced.
Hawkins said a good way to help keep children safe is to teach them to avoid pools the way they are taught to avoid cars.
"You cannot cross the street without mom and dad... You cannot go near the water without mom and dad," Hawkins told CTV News ahead of the province's drowning prevention week back in July. "And when you want to go in the water, you need to wear this flotation device."
The SQ wasn't able to confirm later on Monday morning the exact circumstances surrounding Fiset's death.
Quebec parents are encouraged to self-evaluate their pool's safety using this website.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2020.
With files from CTV News' Katelyn Thomas.