Amari Harley death: Man says he nearly fell in same septic tank at Jacksonville park

by: Danielle Avitable, Action News Jax Updated:

Latest: Memorial grows for 3-year-old boy found in septic tank

Photos: Jacksonville boy, 3, found dead at park

A 3-year-old boy drowned in a septic tank on Sunday and Action News Jax has learned it almost happened to someone else in Bruce Park in Arlington just days earlier.

Jacksonville police and city leaders are investigating the death of Amari Harley. City leaders say they are providing any information that will lead to a full review on the condition of the septic tank.

They're also inspecting all city parks to make sure they are safe and secure. The septic tank covers at Bruce Park have now been replaced with wooden planks.

An exclusive photo taken by one of Amari Harley’s relatives on Sunday shows what the family said they believe was a plastic cover over the water tank.

Marques Burney said he also spotted a plastic lid on the tank, three days before Amari’s body was found inside.

"I was walking and noticed that it was loose," Burney said. 


Related: Complaint filed in January about lid of tank where Jacksonville boy's body found


Burney said he had a close call after he accidentally stepped on the top of it last week.

"Almost fell in. I covered it back up and I walked away," Burney said. 

A city spokesperson said that the Bruce Park system has a bolt covering that is attached to the tank.

Action News Jax asked at least twice Monday what material the lid was made of, but our questions went unanswered. 

"It wasn't even latched on. You could just pick it up because when I stepped on it, it was literally just, 'boom,'" Burney said. 

Burney said he was planning to file a complaint with the city this week about what he called the loose, plastic lid.

"Cause of that, a 3-year-old lost his life because of that," Burney said. 
 
Action News Jax has been pushing the city for answers about the underground tank at Bruce Park.
A city spokesperson said that in January someone filed a “CARE issue" about the tank lid. The city is still working to get us that document. 

"I feel like the city needs to do more and check their sewage drains," Burney said. 

Bruce Park is one of 76 throughout the city that has septic or lift stations for restroom sewage and the city inspects them monthly. 

Amari's family will hold a vigil for him in the park Wednesday.

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