PHOENIX — A 3-year-old boy has died after being pulled from a canal in west Phoenix Sunday afternoon.
Fire crews say they responded to a call of a person in the canal at around 5:30 p.m. near 55th Avenue and Grand Canal.
Phoenix police say they received a report from a passerby that he saw a small child floating in a canal.
When Phoenix police arrived on the scene, they were able to pull 3-year-old Anthony Tolano out of the canal and began CPR.
Phoenix firefighters then arrived on the scene and took over treatment and transported the child to a nearby hospital in extremely critical condition, where he was later pronounced deceased.
Phoenix PD identified the 3yo boy who died after ending up in a canal near 55th Ave/ Osborn as Anthony Tolano.— Mike Pelton (@MikePeltonABC15) May 24, 2021
His aunt provided this picture. Police say there was miscommunication over who was watching him in backyard when he got out. PD says Anthony had autism @abc15 pic.twitter.com/sKrRn8kkQC
After further investigation, it was discovered that Tolano left a home near 55th Avenue and Osborn Road and entered the canal.
Police say there appears to have been a miscommunication at the time over who at the home was supposed to be watching Tolano.
Tolano's grandmother, Dora Alvarez, was visibly upset as she spoke about the three-year-old with ABC15 Monday with the help of a translator.
"He was...always happy, joyful," Alvarez said. "He used to like to dance."
Phoenix Police and Tolano's family confirmed the young boy had autism. Phoenix Police told ABC15 it was not yet clear exactly how Tolano was able to get off the property before winding up in the canal.
"Love [your] children," Alvarez said through a translator. "Hug them each day."
Phoenix Police said based on interviews, it appears as though roughly 15 minutes had passed between the time Tolano left the home and someone in the area spotted the boy in the canal and called for help.
Family members have set up a Gofundme page to help with funeral costs for Tolano.