Hurricane Ian: Two siblings drown after one tries to save the other from flooded canal

Francis Akhalbey October 14, 2022
Tahjon, 17, tried to save 6-year-old Tahjir from drowning in a hurricane-flooded canal -- Photo via NBC News

A Florida mother, whose teen son died after he tried to save his autistic brother from drowning in a hurricane-flooded canal, said she would have also jumped into the water to try and save the minor if she was the first person to arrive. The minor, identified as 6-year-old Tahjir Burrowes, also drowned.

According to NBC News, the tragic October 5 incident occurred after Tahjir walked out of their Lehigh home and headed towards the hurricane-flooded canal. The minor’s mother, Lachera Burrowes, said her son’s autism was very serious and he was attracted to water. He was also non-verbal.

The minor’s relatives were unaware he had left the home. The hurricane had also torn down the fence surrounding their home – which made it easy for Tahjir to wander off. The minor’s big brother, Tahjon, noticed his brother had gone out after he returned from the bathroom.

And sensing something wasn’t right, the 17-year-old knocked on his mother’s door to alert her. “Mom, mom, mom! Tahjir got out of the house!” Tahjon said before leaving the home to look for his brother.

Burrowes also drove to the canal. But when she arrived, she said she did not see anything. “I saw nothing,” she said. “Quiet.” 

Burrowes notified the police and continued searching for her sons. But hours after the siblings went missing, a detective came to Burrowes’ home to tell her that the bodies of her sons had been found. The detective said they drowned in the canal.

Burrowes believes Tahjon tried to save his younger brother from drowning. “I don’t know if one could be without the other. He could not stand there and not jump in,” she said.

A Lee County Sheriff’s Office said they do not suspect any foul play in their deaths. 

Despite being financially unstable, Burrowes rented a hotel room so that she and her family could be safe during the hurricane, NBC News reported. She also said she did not want a repeat of what Tahjir went through during 2017’s Hurricane Irma. Burrowes said the minor suffered constipation for days after they lost power as a result of the hurricane.

Over 130 people have reportedly died from Hurricane Ian. The numbers make it the deadliest hurricane in Florida in about 87 years. 

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 14, 2022


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