Brianna Saenz

Photo of Brianna Saenz. She is a young girl with long black hair, brown eyes, and tan skin. She is wearing a blue shirt. The photo is a portrait photo decorated with a purple flowered frame.Name: Brianna Faye “Nana” Saenz.
Died: May 21, 2016.
Age at death: 5.
Cause of death: Negligence (Drowning).
Location: Pasadena, Texas, USA.

Details:
In her obituary, her family remembers: “Nana was a very beautiful, happy, energetic, and smart young lady that loved climbing, anything that had to do with water, school, the zoo, and riding the bus.”

She was five years old, a pre-kindergarten student. She was autistic and loved water, and her neighbors had a pool. So when her mother had a new dishwasher delivered and installed, she told the delivery service that they should not leave the gate open. But the delivery service did not follow these instructions and left the gate open anyway. Brianna slipped out, found her way to the neighbor’s pool, and drowned there.

The delivery service has since gone out of business.

Editor’s note: Here we have a situation where a young girl died because a member of the general public did not obey instructions meant to protect her.

Many people who are uninformed about autism see the needs of autistic people as frivolous, demanding, or unreasonably picky. When a child can drink only from red plastic cups, or when an adult cannot bear the touch of a polyester uniform shirt, they assume that this is bad behavior rather than a true need.

Brianna’s need not to have that gate open for any longer than it absolutely needed to be open was very real. She was a five-year-old girl who loved water and probably didn’t understand the danger of drowning. When the delivery service did not close the gate, they ignored a request that, had they followed it, would have saved Brianna’s life.

References:
Mother sues Home Depot and delivery company over child’s drowning death
Brianna “Nana” Faye Saenz Obituary
Mom sues Home Depot, delivery company over child’s drowning
Mother sues Home Depot and delivery company over child’s drowning death

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