Child drowning marks Florida’s 9th in 2022, nonprofit working to lower the odds

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Tara Boyd on WPTV

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Sunday’s drowning in Riviera Beach now marks the 88th child to have drowned across the state of Florida in 2022, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families.

DCF said at least nine of those children were diagnosed with autism.

Riviera Beach police said the child who drowned is 10-year-old Tahfin Chowdhury. He went missing from his home Sunday, and was later found in a body of water in the Turtle Cay gated community.

Related: Missing Riviera Beach boy, 10, with autism drowns, police say

Police, a dive team and a Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office helicopter assisted with the search.

The news of Chowdhury’s death felt like a knife to the chest for Palm Beach County mother Tara Boyd.

“I looked at my phone and I saw [the news], and it took me from up here to down here,” said Boyd, gesturing to the floor.

Boyd is a parent of two children with autism, and has feared that exact scenario.

“I knew that they were curious about water,” she said.

According to the National Autism Association, it’s a common tendency in children with autism. The association said 50% of children with autism tend to wander, and nearly all of them gravitate towards water.

“I was terrified to let them in the water, because they didn’t know how to swim,” said Boyd.

That’s when Boyd found Keri Morrison, who started up a nonprofit in Palm Beach Gardens called the Live Like Jake Foundation.

“We created Live Like Jake after losing Jake in a drowning accident,” said Morrison.