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Kailua neighbors save girl after father accused of trying to drown her

By Cam Tran
Published On: Dec 27 2013 05:33:53 PM HST
KAILUA, Hawaii -

The tranquil swimming pool in Kailua was the scene of a dramatic rescue on Christmas Day.

Honolulu police say a 36-year-old man tried to drown his 2-year-old daughter in the pool.  The man, who neighbors identify as Thomas Morton, lives on the second floor of the Kailua home with his young daughter.

"The people on the other side of the house next door, that's the people that heard the man yell something and the husband was sitting outside he came by the fence and looked down.  That's when he saw the man jump in with the baby," said neighbor Ernest Burlen.

After the neighbor saw the man jump into the pool with the young girl, he jumped over a fence and tried to save her.

Burlen, who lives next door to the Mortons, was home when the commotion started.  He said when he ran to the scene, his other neighbors were trying to revive the baby.

"The baby was the first one to be pulled out.  They gave the baby CPR and the baby spit out the water," said Burlen.

The toddler is recovering while witnesses say her father did not seem to fare well.

"I thought Thomas was a goner," said Burlen.

Police say the young girl's father is still in the hospital.  Neighbors in this quiet Kailua neighborhood say the father is extremely friendly and are shocked this could happen.

"He takes care of that child, he loves children," said Burlen.  "You can tell both of the brothers are very mellow and they are just family-oriented.  Now I don't know what set him off, but I'm hoping they'll come through it."

Police have not arrested the father, but have opened an attempted murder case.  Themother of the child was not home at the time.

According to neighbors, the father only has custody of the child during weekends and holidays.

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