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Toddler drowns in backyard pool near Grovetown

Posted: August 21, 2012 - 3:41pm  |  Updated: August 23, 2012 - 11:55am
Richard Hammonds, 18, of Harlem, catches his breath Tuesday afternoon after helping pull a 3-year-old girl out of a pool near Grovetown. The girl later was pronounced dead.  Scott Rouch
Scott Rouch
Richard Hammonds, 18, of Harlem, catches his breath Tuesday afternoon after helping pull a 3-year-old girl out of a pool near Grovetown. The girl later was pronounced dead.

Twitter @ScottRouch

A toddler died Tuesday after being pulled from a pool near Grovetown.

Raydin Hollbrooks, age 3, was pronounced dead at Doctor's Hospital at 3:45 p.m., said Columbia County Coroner Vernon Collins. An autopsy done Wednesday at the GBI crime lab in Augusta revealed that Raydin drowned, he said.

Raydin was found about 2:30 p.m. in a backyard pool at 140 Pauline St., owned by Rex and Karen Newman, after wandering away from her home at 125 Pauline St., said Columbia County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris. The homes are about a quarter-mile apart in the rural community off Louisville Road.

The gate to the fence around the above-ground pool was open, Morris said.

The case remains under investigation.

Raydin had wandered away from her home undetected, and when family members noticed her missing they began searching the neighborhood, Morris said. A neighbor helping with the search, Deontray Johnson, 25, of 126 Pauline St., saw the open gate and checked the pool.

When Johnson saw Raydin at the bottom of the pool, he called out to the other searchers and jumped in to rescue her, Morris said. Kirk Hammonds, 18, of Harlem, a friend of Raydin's older cousin, jumped in to help when Johnson had difficulty retrieving Raydin from the pool, Morris said.

Raydin's cousin and a neighbor started CPR on the girl until rescue personnel arrived.

Morris said the investigation is ongoing.


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Comments (21)


so sad...but a 3 year old

so sad...but a 3 year old managed to get a quarter of a mile from home ??? how long does it take a 3 yr old to walk this far??? somebody wasn't paying very good attention to this baby....


Sadly, I knew Raydin and the

Sadly, I knew Raydin and the family. While this was a tragic accident, it could have been prevented months ago had the right thing been done at that time. Raydin was a bright child who stayed with my family for several weeks during the summer and whose life was cut short much too early by circumstances that were beyond her control. I keep everyone involved in my prayers and know that she is in a better place, because that's all that can keep me going right now.


RayRay - Sweet Angel

I knew Ray Ray and the rest of the family as well and I can't help but think that this could have gone so much a different way if the authorities had done a better job with this case and removed the children from the home until mom could get straight and back on her feet. My heart goes out to you "big sis", this is not your fault. You should never have been put in the role of having this much responsibility over a toddler at such a young age. I love you and am praying for God to carry you through your grief.

Truth be told

I would just like to set a

I would just like to set a few things straight. Raydin holbrooks had ONE mother, that she was taken away from because people thought her AUNT would take better care of her. Her aunt who drank almost everyday, had no job, and had a different man in her life every few months. Raydin only has ONE sister, whom isn't even 2 years old. The "older sister" being talked about on the news was actually her cousin. I believe she loved raydin like a sister but it doesn't change ryde fact that she wasnt. Raydin's real MOTHER has been trying to be a part of h2 life but her AUNT kept making excuses not to let her see her. She wouldnt even let the mother tell her about her newborn sister because the aunt said she didn't need to know about someone she would never be a part of. I feel for this family. But I feel that things need to be told the right way. How is it the AUNT was a better parent for the child when the child was unattended for long enough to go a quarter mile away and drown???


lets be honest

I have seen both sides of this issue, the "mother" has stayed in my house more then once and i have seen exactly why she did not have the child. The Aunt in this situation is not a perfect person no is but i will say that she loved that little girl like her own and treated her no different then her own kids. She never claimed to be anything but a "acting mommy" i other words a stand maternal figure that was there as long as Ray needed her. It is simple to say that she messed up because she did there is no doubt about it. Once more however truth be told as a parent my self i know that we all do, if u have kids u have turned your back at the wrong moment, let them fall down by accident, not heard something you should have and so on. This is tragic and it breaks my heart, but throwing blame at this point isn't going to help the family or this precious child taken from them. On a further note i will say that as for the "mother" "always trying" and being better then her aunt at raising that baby, if that was the case she would never have just dropped her off in the first place, Raydin would have been more important then stealing and going to jail, and she wouldnt do things like ask for gift cards for the childs birthdays and christmas' and then spend them on herself or tell people as myself or numerous others no when they offer her a ride to go see her which has happened on numerous occasions. If we are going to put all the blame on the aunt saying she should have been a better parent, then we should ask ourselves how the child got there first and for most, where was her mother? she doesnt have a job, why wasnt she watching her? I'm just pointing out that wanting to be part of a kid u leaves life on your time schedule is not a parent, the aunt took care of her when she was sick, sad, crying for her mom, and every other time...



the reason that Ray had not been told about the younger sibling is because of the "mothers" way of coming whenever it was convenient and then being gone for months as stated above, she didnt say she would never be part of her life either. She wanted to wait till Ray was older and could understand why baby sister gets to go home with mommy and i dont, simple as that. Its a thought that didnt cross the "mothers" mind. As stated above no one is perfect and the aunt did mess up tragically in this case but i promise that she gave that child more love and support then anyone else in her life except maybe the father who tried to be there as much as possible, has a job, and thought of that baby as his life. R.I.P Raydin, may your memory live on forever in those that love you, and may you move the hearts of people to focus on whats really important here... You and Jade.

Truth be told

Raydin was TAKEN from the

Raydin was TAKEN from the mother because she had no where to go and was only 16 years old. once she DID get on her feet and have a place for the child, the aunt wouldn't even so much as let her see the child. The fact is that even though the mother had a baby as a teenager and wasn't perfect, she DID try to do whats best. I watched her try to hand money to the aunt for the child and the aunt refused to take it. I WAS WITH HER WHEN SHE TOOK CHRISTMAS GIFT CARDS AND BOUGHT TOYS AND CLOTHES FOR THE CHILD AND THE AUNT WOULD NOT TAKE THEM, saying that the child had what she needed. I have watched the mother cry when she made plans to see the child and the aunt found a reason to cancel. Then the aunt moved without even telling the mother where she went so she couldn't just drop by to see HER child that she STILL had rights to. It is true that the aunt took care of the child, but the child was NOT dropped off with her and left. The aunt made it a point to TAKE the mother to court and TAKE the child. And it was supposed to be temporary until the mother got on her feet and had a place for the child which she HAS HAD for the longest time now. I am not saying that it IS the aunt's fault. I'm simply stating that if the aunt wasn't TAKING A NAP while the child was awake, and I'm assuming drinking since every time i saw her she was, then it could have been prevented. And the "as a parent myself" comment. I am not even going there considering YOUR CHILD IS ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND U HAVE SEEN HER ONCE IN 6 YEARS. No one ever said you are supposed to be perfect, and you knew you weren't which is why you gave your child up. I understand that THAT IS what is best for THAT child OBVIOUSLY! But no one ever said the mother of Raydin was supposed to be perfect either. But she did her best to get on her feet and got a place for her child and wasn't allowed to see her. Like I said I am not saying it WAS the aunt's fault. But it is one thing to turn your back on a child for a minute and something happen... but for it to b long enough for the child to have time to get out of the house and a QUARTER MILE from the home and drown before anyone realizes she was gone..... well that says it right there.

Truth be told

And just to make this

And just to make this clear... I am not the mother posting this stuff, but someone who has been there and SEEN it.


I don't know who any of these

I don't know who any of these prior comments are coming from and I really don't care. This is a tragic situation for ANYONE AND EVERYONE who knew and loved Raydin. I understand that you may think you are being helpful by slamming either one side or the other of this family and it is a natural thing to try to attach blame when this sort of thing happens but it is NOBODY'S FAULT. It was an ACCIDENT that there, by the Grace of God, could happen to each and every one of us. Anyone who thinks they are being helpful to any side of this family by slamming one or the other is TERRIBLY WRONG. Where is your kindness and love? Instead of looking for all the wrong things that have happened on one side or the other --why don't you try and be helpful and understanding? Why don't you try to help this family heal and go on? Wouldn't it be nice if Raydin's legacy was to heal this broken family instead of tearing it further apart. If you guys, whoever you are, can't be helpful why don't you just keep out of it!!!

Truth be told

So you would fall asleep

So you would fall asleep while your child was awake and not pay attention long enough for her to get a quarter of a mike from home and drown? I know it was a mistake. But a preventable one.

Truth be told

I just feel that people

I just feel that people should know that the child did have a mother. The news and paper has left that detail out and they are telling it wrong.


Like i said

The only people that matter here are Jade and Ray, and i know who you think this is, but i'm not that person. That person was the person that went and picked up the mother from jail, and let her stay for free even though she was rude right? this is someone that was simply an observer to that situation. As for saying those things about that person, thats really messed up as she has not only taken me off the street but the mother of this poor child, and several other people. She loved/loves the mother as if she was her own feeding her, clothing her and in return got even less then the aunt that raised her child. The fact is that this is a tragedy, its no ones "fault" her aunt made a mistake, that possibly every parent has made, and to point fingers is wrong. did she make every perfect decision? no, but she tried to make the right ones for Ray in spite of herself sometimes and thats all that some one can ask of a parent. And Lacy was a big sister to her, just as (if u are who i think u are) You are to the mother... Lets put this back where it belongs, on the memory of a beautiful little girl and a the current position of one that wont ever know her. STOP pointing fingers!!! its not going to help anyone!


oh come on!

ok so for one i will not hide my name behind random names. Raydin was a beautiful little girl and nothing needs to be said about pointing the blame at anyone, thats what the authorities in charge are suppossed to do. i know the mother of baby girl and had the wonderful chance to take care of Raydin myself. arguing about whos fault this is, is ridiculous. we need to grieve for this child, not be pointing fingers.


Well said Midnite_rose Let's

Well said Midnite_rose

Let's remember Raydin for the sweet, loving, smiling little girl she was. Everyone who came in contact with her was blessed and this family needs help in healing right now.



My point exactly, no one is perfect but pointing out the imperfections now is just going to make things worse, and i shouldnt have brought up any myself, i was wrong, i was trying to defend someone i know loved the baby very much. I just wish people could let those that cared for her most grieve and keep their mouths shut especially when they drag other children into it . and someone that has done nothing but support them, the person that got called out above took me in pregnant when i had no where to go along with the mother of this little girl and another woman. She indeed did put a daughter up for adoption and loves her very much, you should be ashamed of your self for thinking you have any right to say anything bad or rude to her when she saved you time and again from being homeless even when you were rude, got her kicked out of her home, and still she is there for you to the best of my knowledge. I'm ashamed as stated as well for calling out the mother in a moment of anger when i know she must be grieving, especially for the things i've stated. And i apologize, but you who doesnt even take care of your own kids (if you are who i think you are) have no place to talk about anything on either side and need to leave both alone as i'm going to do now

Truth be told

I don't know who you think

I don't know who you think this is. But my child lives with me and my husband. That is of no ones concern. There are locks on the TOPS of the doors so this kind of thing don't happen. Sim

Truth be told

You know what, whatever. I am

You know what, whatever. I am done arguing. I know what the truth is. And so does the MOTHER! It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. The investigation will go on. Thats all that matters.


Shame on the above slander.

Shame on the above slander. God doesn't like ugly!! I loved RaeRae, but know none of you. Your past is of no concern to me. The past is over. I prayed for Rae every day and you know what. She is in the best hands she could possibly be in right now. Her heavenly father. She is a angel of sunshine in heaven being the sweet , cute Rae we all loved. I will pray for those so disheartened and hope something big comes from it. A relationship with God is what seems to be needed. I love you all.



A friend of mine who lives in Georgia shared thi story on facebook. I couldnt help but read the whole story. This is tragic to say the least. I am praying for this sweet child and all who loved her. I can not help but say something to those who are posting comments back and forth on here bashing echother and a family who has suffered a terrible loss. You two should be ashamed of yourselves. I understand that it is normal to pass blame and be angry, however on a pulic site that thousands of people are going to read is not the place. I am sure you both know that legal action could be taken aginst anyone who publicly slanders an individual. Have some class, and handle your frusterations as adults. This is not the time nor place for finger pointing. Anyone reding the article is not interested in your drama, they want to read what happened and offer prayer and support to all who loved this little angel.




where was the child? was she in the aunts care or the mothers?



tragic most definitely...

amleigh... If you had read the entire thing, you would know she was in the care of her Aunt. (That's the mother's aunt, not Raydin's)
Wordoftruth... you have a weird sense of sentiment. You state it was no one's fault... So... no one was at fault?
An ADULT was in the home (presumable passed out or drunk, the police will investigate. I don't know her circumstances, but they will come out)
A 16-year old girl was in the house (the "adult's daughter)
the boyfriend of the 16-year old was in the house as well.

So... who's fault was it for not watching a 3 year old toddler? WHO's responsibility was it to keep an eye on her?

Did the boyfriend think to himself "Not my responsibility, she's not MY kid"
Did the 16-year old daughter think the same?
Were the two of them.. "otherwise involved"?
Were there drugs/alcohol involved?

A 3 year old toddler isn't a quiet person. They make noise. (Unless of course they are constantly being punished for making noise, which then makes them quiet. I HAVE seen this in reality)
A 3-year old may be a small person, but not easily "misplaced"
HOW could 3 human beings, supposedly at an age where they have the keen ability to reason and think, NOT think to themselves "Hey? Where's that little kid get to? I haven't seen her in a while? Maybe she's taking a nap. Maybe I should check and see." or any number of other things. NO ONE realized she was gone.
And the paper article WAS INCORRECT on MORE THAN ONE DETAIL! The piece on this tragedy was on WRDW, and it was confirmed at ONE HALF MILE!
Go out. Walk a half mile yourself to get an idea of exactly how long this child was gone. (Just take smaller steps, your legs are longer than a 3-year old's remember)

a half mile is a good trek for a child that age. It just shocks (and appalls) me that NO ONE even thought to look for her. If this was a game of Hide and Seek, the "adults" in the house are in the "epic fail" category, hell, they now hold the World Championship Title in Epic Failures.

Before you folks toss blame, there is a clear choice here who IS to blame. Bashing Raydin's mom without knowing the FULL CIRCUMSTANCES of how Raydin came to be living (unsupervised apparently) under Sharon's roof need to check your information sources.
Until you KNOW the TRUTH about how Raydin was taken from her mother, you should just keep quiet. I understand you want to "vent" your opinions, as we are entitled to do, but as one poster put it... "SLANDER" (Go lok that up and see what you are in for, just fyi)
Before you say "no one is at fault" do this:
Have a child. Open the door. Tell said child to go play in traffic. Close door. Get drunk. Wait.

It'd be the same outcome.
There IS a fault here...

and i assure you...

It is NOT Raydin's MOM...

Sincerely, Raydin's Step-Grandfather