Community mourns toddler’s death

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 21, 2002


DESTREHAN – A 20-month-old boy, the youngest of three children, apparently slipped through a wooden backyard fence and drowned this week in the Dunleith drainage canal behind his home.

The canal is a major drainage canal for the Ormond area of Destrehan.

Services were held Friday at St. Charles United Methodist Church.

Alexander Steven “Xander” Cain was playing in the backyard of 90 Carriage Lane with his 3-year-old sister, Makayla, when his mother, Michelle Cain, briefly spoke on the portable telephone she used. After a few minutes, she saw her daughter watching television and asked her, “Where’s Brother?”

“Upstairs,” the child responded, and the mother immediately looked upstairs. Then she returned downstairs and into the yard, calling for him. When she realized her son was no longer in the yard, she alerted neighbors, called her husband, David, and called 911. At 3:14 p.m., the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office was called. Thirteen minutes later, the boy was located in the canal, 400 feet west of the backyard.

Attempts were made to revive the child but they were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at St. Charles Parish Hospital in Luling at 5:01 p.m.

According to his mother’s account to the sheriff’s office, there were two openings in the wooden fence where Alexander might have slipped out. One was a weather-warped board in the fence, and the other was a low spot beneath the fence. Then, only a level space of about five feet separated the child from the dropoff into the canal.

Joan Eaton, grandmother of the child, said the spot was most likely the gap in the fence, and the couple had already called the landlord four times to have the fence repaired.

“It’s a pretty big drainage canal,” Capt. Patrick Yoes said, who added the autopsy showed the child drowned. There were no signs of trauma and no one was charged in the incident, Yoes said.

Eaton said the boy loved being outside and also loved water. “He would lay in the bathtub with just his nose above the water,” she said. “He had no fear of water.”

A fund has been established at Bank One to assist the family with the funeral costs.

He is also survived by an 8-year-old sister, Taylor, and grandparents, Robert and Joan Eaton, Walter and Duane Koeberl and Alfred Jr. and Kathleen Cain.