CHARLESTON, Ill. (WCIA) – Saturday, Jan. 15 started out like any other day for an Illinois family.
“Ma’Lyiah and her sister Bailey have daily chores, and one of them is they walk their six dogs. They have four pit bulls and then two little bitty dogs. It’s just part of what they do. They’re used to it, they take them out several times a day,” said Amanda Beals, their great aunt.
Beals said on Saturday, the two little dogs ended up running onto the frozen pond. She said Ma’Lyiah followed after them. That’s when the ice broke and she fell in.
Beals said her brother and the girls’ grandfather, Bill Croy, went to help. Carlos Serafin, their abuelo, had already jumped into the water. Before Croy knew it, Serafin and 10-year-old Ma’Lyiah were both under.
Beals said when her brother first called her, she thought it was just Ma’Lyiah in the pond.
“So, when I got there, he let me know that they were still, he couldn’t get to them, he couldn’t get to them. And I said, ‘Who Ma’Lyiah?’ I said, ‘Where’s Carlos?’ And he said, ‘He’s in the pond.’ I said ‘Carlos is in the pond?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I couldn’t get to him,'” she said.
The Lincoln Fire Dive Team was able to pull Ma’Lyiah out and get her to a hospital where her heart was restarted. Beals said the hospital did everything they could, but they couldn’t save Serafin.
“Carlos definitely, he died a hero, you know that’s just who he is. He would do anything for his girls, he would do anything for his dogs, he would do anything for anybody,” she said.
Beals said Ma’Lyiah is currently on machines to help her heart beat and her lungs breathe. She said right now they’re dealing with her brain swelling. She said they should know more about brain activity later this week.
Beals has made a fundraising page to help with funeral and medical expenses. You can donate to that page here.