Jacksonville family sues owner of retention pond in Baker County where child drowned

A family in Jacksonville is suing the owner of a retention pond in Baker County where their 2-year-old drowned.

Action News Jax first covered the accident in April when the child was able to leave the home where he was staying the night with his sister.


Neighbors said since that accident nothing has been done to prevent another incident like that from happening.

The only thing that has changed at the retention pond is a memorial that was left for 2-year-old Franklin Parker who drowned there.

Neighbors like Kierra Brown are still asking for some sort of barrier to prevent another accident.

“It should’ve been a fence over there. There still needs to be a fence over there only because we're in apartments, it’s kids around here,” Brown said.

Brown lives in the apartment complex with her four small children and has been there for the past year.

She said it really hit home learning 2-year-old Franklin drowned in the retention pond a few feet away from her home.

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“I had no idea it was water over there I just thought they dug a hole I never knew it was water over there until that day,” Brown said.

This week Franklin’s family filed a wrongful death law suit against the property owner of the retention pond where he drowned.

The owner previously told Action News Jax he pulled permits to build a fence and that he didn’t recall anyone asking for one to be installed.

“I hadn’t heard anybody ask for one but we pulled the permits a few weeks prior and hadn’t gotten around to it,” the owner said.

Brown believes if there were some sort of fence or barrier around the retention pond the outcome may have been different and little Franklin might still be alive.

“If there would have been a fence there that day I don’t think that would have happened. Something else probably could have happened, but it probably wouldn’t have been anything as bad as that,” Brown said.

In addition to the family suing the property owner of the retention pond an employee at the apartment complex told Action News Jax the family is also suing the property management company of the apartment complex where Franklin was staying the night.

Employees said the family believes unsecure doors in the apartment played a factor in this horrible incident.

Neighbors here are hoping something changes fast so they don’t see this same story play out again.