BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Officials with the Bladen County Sheriff's Office say a 4-year-old Clarkton boy drowned in a pond near his home last Thursday morning.
According to a news release, emergency officials responded to reports of a young boy who had been found floating face up in a pond. The caller said the boy had been removed from the water and was struggling to breath.
The boy, later identified as 4-year-old Zackery Blaze Priest of Mitchell Ford Road, was taken to Bladen County Hospital and then to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Priest later died from his injuries on Friday, May 22.
Officials say Zackery left his home while his parents were sleeping and walked approximately 200 yards to the pond. The owner of the pond noticed Zackery in the water after he went outside to check on his barking dogs.
Zackery's parents, 33-year-old Jeffery Bruce Priest, Jr. and 25-year-old Tiffany Gayle Calcutt, were woken by sheriff's deputies and informed of what happened to him. Priest and Calcutt say they were unaware Zackery left the home and said the outside door was locked after they got another child ready for school.
Bladen County Sheriff James McVicker says the case is under investigation and the sheriff's office is working with Child Protective Services and the District Attorney's Office.
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