Family of Knoxville drowning victim says death isn’t parental neglect

Darshawn Martez Witt (source: family)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A family in Knoxville is grieving the loss of a young child who drowned in a hotel pool over the weekend.

Police said Darshawn Martez Witt, 7, was pulled from the deep end of the pool at Quality Inn & Suites on North Cedar Bluff Road. Officers said CPR was performed and the boy was taken to ParkWest Hospital, but did not survive.

Witt’s grandmother, Edwina Chandler, says this isn’t a case of parental neglect. Witt was loved and taken care of by his family.

Previous story: Knoxville police identify 7-year-old who drowned in hotel pool

“Whatever anybody was feeling, he was right there with you. He didn’t have to warm up, it’s like he knew everybody. He made friends real easy,” said Chandler.

Chandler says it’s been rough since Friday, reminding this family of other losses.

“It’s been rough. Bringing back memories from last year, year before that. We’ve lost a lot of men in our lives, in the last three or four years.” said Chandler.

More: Jajuan Latham

Witt is Jajuan Latham’s cousin and the two raised together like brothers according to family members. Latham, 12, was shot in the head while sitting in the back of his father’s parked car in Mechanicsville on April 16, 2016, during what police say was a gang-related shooting at Danny Mayfield Park.

“It was no child neglect. None at all. It was just a bad decision and bad timing.” said Juan Porter, Witt’s uncle.

The 7-year-old was with in the custody of his grandmother at the time of the incident, according to police. However, investigators said there were no adults with him at the pool. The boy’s 5-year-old brother was put in custody of other family members.

The Knoxville Police Department says it is investigating all aspects of the incident and the Knox County District Attorney’s Office will decide if charges will be filed.

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