A four-year-old boy drowned in a pond after he wandered from his family’s countryside home, an inquest heard.
Little Ifan Owen-Jones had been playing with his brothers in a sandpit outside the caravan where he lived with his parents in the village of Blaenffos, Pembrokeshire, in August last year.
The youngster disappeared and was found face-down in a pond.
His mother Sian had fallen asleep, but could hear the children playing outside through the door, which was open due to the warm weather.
PC James Lang-Ford said Sian “was awoken and could hear Ifan playing outside”.
But after she “went to the toilet”, Ifan had gone missing.
The family launched a search for the boy, with Sian driving around the nearby area in a desperate hunt for her son.
By 5pm, she was in tears as he could not be found.
Ifan’s uncle Matthew Owen joined the search, and found his nephew lying face-down and unresponsive in the pond water.
The Welsh Ambulance Service was called.
Despite the efforts of emergency personnel, the boy was declared dead at the scene at 6.40pm.
PC James Lang-Ford said the pond was “some distance” from the caravan. It was described as “not massive but bigger than one you would have in your garden.”
Acting senior coroner for Pembrokshire Paul Bennett recorded a conclusion of accidental death and expressed his deepest sympathies to Ifan’s family at the Haverfordwest inquest. He said there was “nothing to suggest foul play or third-party involvement”.
The hearing was told Ifan had “never tried to access the area where the pond was located”.
Ifan had been awaiting tests due to a suspected autism spectrum disorder, something which Mr Bennett said was a “significant contributory factor” and an “indirect cause” in the boy’s death.
He added: “This is undoubtedly one of those extremely distressing situations where a young child has died. To what extent Ifan’s autism spectrum disorder played a part is difficult for me to determine.
“It could be said that a young child of Ifan’s age would not deliberately put himself in that position.”
In a statement, the family said: “Ifan was a beautiful, happy, healthy little boy. He had his struggles with some things due to being autistic but he was amazing at other things.
“He loved the alphabet, counting and colours. He would watch Fireman Sam over and over. He loved climbing on anything he could find. His iPad was his safety blanket, it went everywhere with him.
“Everyone who met Ifan fell in love with him, everyone adored him.
“He was and always will be our special little boy. We are so lost without him. Ifan was our world. We are all truly broken.
“We as a family are truly overwhelmed with the support, kindness and generosity we have received from our family, friends, local community and even people we don’t even know.
“We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.’
The statement added his parents Sian and Wedros had their lives “changed forever when Ifan was in a tragic accident and lost his life.”
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