by: Eric Philips Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Seven-year-old Samiyah Brown was in critical condition Friday and doctors said the first 72 hours are crucial to her survival.
While family and friends pray for her recovery, they're mourning the loss of her older brother who lost his life trying to save hers.
A memorial is growing Friday where 11-year-old Randez Brown died and his sister Samiyah nearly drowned.
Witnesses said there were six children between the ages of six and 11 playing in the creek behind Marie G. Davis Middle School Thursday night.
They had apparently gone through a break in the fence and into a tunnel where there was deep water.
The children reported that Samiyah went under and then her brother went after her trying to save her.
“I wasn't expecting any of this to happen,” said Keyna Ricks, who witnessed the incident.
Ricks was at basketball practice at Davis Middle School with her son when children who were soaking wet ran to her saying they needed help.
She called 911 and said she and her brothers went to see what they could do.
“My brother was down on the bank with his cellphone and the flashlight trying to find the kids and could not find them until he got to the tunnel and the little girl he saw (was) in the tunnel,” Ricks said.
Minutes later rescuers arrived and divers pulled the two children out.
Randez died at the scene and his sister was barely alive.
The children lived with their great grandmother nearby.
She had to be treated at the hospital after finding out what happened.
The family's pastor said everyone was used to seeing the both kids at church “especially Semiyah. She was always the one after every service. She would come up to many of us, hugging us.”
Neighbors said something needs to be done to prevent this from happening again.
The Brown family needs help with funeral costs. They do not have insurance.
Their church is collecting donations on the family’s behalf.
One Way Baptist Church, Pastor Barrington Johnson
3501 Tuckaseegee Rd.
Charlotte, N.C. 28208
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