August pool death brings lawsuit

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comOctober 9, 2011 

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The family of a 6-year-old Beaufort boy who died after being found at the bottom of a pool during a party at Coosaw Plantation has sued members of former Gov. Mark Sanford's family and Sanford family entities that own the property, according to court records.

The family of Camilo Andres Restrepo-Lopez filed a wrongful death lawsuit last month against John and Julia Sanford, the former governor's brother and sister-in-law. The Sanford Land Co. and the Sanford Family Partnership also were named as defendants in the suit. The Sanford Land Co. and the Sanford Family Partnership own and maintain the neighborhood, the lawsuit states.

The suit, filed by attorneys Daniel Henderson and J. Paul Detrick of Hampton, says the child was invited to a birthday party Aug. 20 that began at John and Julia Sanford's Beaufort home and continued at the Coosaw Plantation neighborhood in Dale, where the children would be swimming.

During the party, Lopez was found at the bottom of the pool and taken to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where he died two days later, according to the Beaufort County Coroner's Office.

The boy's death was ruled accidental, a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said.

The lawsuit claims children at the pool party were not properly supervised and that the boy wasn't given a lifejacket, although his parents had said he could not swim.

The suit seeks actual and punitive damages.

Attorneys for the Sanford family have not yet filed a response, court records show.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.

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