Polk County

Lakeland mother remembers 6-year-old son who drowned in pond near apartment

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Adam Roach was a little boy who had huge qualities.

"I will miss his smile. His laugh. He had the most amazing laugh," said Brittany Roach, Adam's mom.

She'll also remember her son's fascination with water.

"He was obsessed with water," Brittany said. "That was probably his super hero powers. He could go anywhere and find water."

That's what he did last Friday.

His mom tells News Channel 8 Adam slipped out of her sight for a moment.

"And that day I simply went to the bathroom and he got out," she said.

Divers found the 6-year-old boy dead in the pond right outside the family apartment.

"It still really hasn't hit me. I'm still in shock," Brittany said.

While the mom admits responsibility, she also tells us she asked for a new apartment at Carlton Arms away from the pond.

"They said it was an unreasonable request -- that I knew I had a pond view when I moved in," she said.

We went to Mahaffey Apartment Group in St. Petersburg, which oversees Carlton Arms.

A spokesman sent the following statement:

Ms. Harris (Roach) did request additional security on her unit door to reduce the chances of her children inadvertently leaving the unit. Carlton Arms maintenance staff did add a pin lock and raised a chain lock higher on the door, away from the children's reach. However, our staff concluded that an additional request for a key-only deadbolt lock (from the inside of the unit) would be a fire hazard and safety concern if anyone was inadvertently locked in the unit in an emergency, and declined to install one. Ms. Harris (Roach) did make a request to move to another unit in the complex. During the time of this request, there were no available units that met her needs, and she was promised the opportunity to move if a unit became available. However, several days after making the request, Ms. Harris (Roach)  corresponded with our staff and said she wanted to remain in her current unit, and thanked our staff for its ongoing support.""Our Carlton Arms community and staff are heartbroken by the loss of Adam Roach. The safety and well-being of all our residents is our highest priority, and we offer our sincerest condolences to Adam's family and everyone impacted by his death. From the moment we learned of Adam's disappearance, our staff worked urgently alongside his family, residents and the Polk County Sheriff's Office in hopes of finding him safe, but unfortunately the situation ended tragically. We have been in contact with Adam's family and are continuing to work closely with authorities as they investigate what happened and interact with the family."
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