posted on Jul, 11 2004 @ 12:24 PM
Donny was the brave 6yr old boy who died in a swimming pool in Chicago Ridge after saving a 5 yr old little girl.
Chicago Ridge Swimming Pool Hero Dies
6-Year-Old Boy Saved Playmate From Pool
POSTED: 7:53 am CDT June 15, 2004
UPDATED: 8:19 pm CDT June 15, 2004
CHICAGO -- A 6-year-old boy has died after spending a week in critical condition after saving a 5-year-old girl who slipped into a Chicago Ridge
Donald Houser-Richerme, of 10546 Brooks Lane in the southern suburb, was pronounced dead at 10:41 a.m. Monday at Advocate Hope Children's Hospital in
Oak Lawn, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office spokeswoman.
The boy had apparently been playing with his 4-year-old brother and the girl on June 7 when he leaped into the pool after the girl fell in, according
to Chicago Ridge Deputy Fire Chief Scott Durling and Chicago Ridge police Chief Timothy Baldermann.
The boy saved 5-year-old Karah Moran from drowning in a half-empty pool at an apartment complex in Chicago Ridge. He was under water anywhere from
five to 20 minutes.
The boy's mother, Michelle Cartolano, called Baldermann on Monday to tell him her son had died.
"That family has been through an awful lot this past week, and throughout the whole ordeal they've shown a lot of dignity, class and strength,"
Images: 6-Year-Old Hero Drowns
Video: Boy Dies After Saving Friend
With feelings of guilt and thanks, Karah's family is also grieving. On Tuesday, she told NBC5's Rob Elgas about making get-well cards for Donald.
"My mom made a big card and I made a little one," she said.
Karah's mother, Melany Moran, visited Donald in the hospital many times, sitting with his family and praying for his recovery.
"I went in the room and saw him and it broke my heart to pieces," she said. "He's a hero. He's a big hero. The bravest little guy I ever
Baldermann said Donald's family never left his bedside and realizes the heroic actions of the young boy.
"They realize what a sacrifice their son made," he said. "Nothing is going to make it OK for them, but they do take some comfort in the fact their
son was so brave and selfless in his action."
At the time of the incident, the girl ran to a nearby adult, who called 911 and went to the pool with several other adults to look for the child,
Firefighters arrived at the pool, located behind Woodland Terrace Apartments on the 10500 block of Brooks Lane in Chicago Ridge, at 4:50 p.m. and
pulled the fully clothed boy from the water, Durling said.
The boy was taken to Palos Community Hospital in Palos Heights and was transferred later, in "very critical condition" to Advocate Hope, Baldermann
Earlier on June 7, a maintenance worker who was going to clean the pool cut the lock on the gate because neither he nor the building owner immediately
had a key, Baldermann said. The owner told him either to buy a new lock that day or temporarily wrap the chain around the gate pole to close the gate,
Swimming in the uncovered pool was prohibited because it had not been cleaned or filled, according to Durling.
But rainwater had collected in the deep end of the pool, though the shallow portion was not full, Baldermann said.
"He must have hit that steep, slippery part of the pool and went under," Baldermann said of the boy.
Baldermann said the 12-building apartment complex is "huge...there's only one way in and one way out." He added that few outsiders come by, so it
is generally a safe place for children.
Donald's combined family on Friday issued a statement through the hospital thanking the community for "all of your love, support, kindness and
"Due to overwhelming requests, we have established a fund for Donny called the Donald Houser-Richerme Fund," his mother, Michelle, said in the
The fund was set up at Founders Bank, at 6825 W. 111th St. in Worth, Ill., 60482, according to the statement.
"Our families greatly appreciate your donations and cards," the mother said in the release.
[edit on 11-7-2004 by MikeC]