Toddler drowns in father's beer cooler

Posted: Updated:

An 18-month old child drowned Tuesday at his midtown home and Tucson Police are investigating possible criminal charges.

Police say the boy's father fell asleep late this morning with the boy in the house. When the father awoke at about 11:48 a.m., the child was not in sight.

Police say the boy apparently had fallen head first into an 18-inch square cooler filled with water and ice and a few bottles of beer. The water level was above the tops of the beer bottles and extremely cold.

Police say it appeared the child was unable to get himself out of the cooler and drowned. When the father found the child, he was unresponsive.

This afternoon police identifed the victim as Nicolas Claus, born in March of 2007. Police say the man immediately began life-saving efforts and alerted two women who were walking near the home in the 2400 block of North Walnut Avenue. That's near Grant and Alvernon. The man called 911. When paramedics from Tucson Fire arrived they continued efforts to revive the boy. He was rushed to Tucson Medical Center where efforts to save his life failed.

Tucson Police Sergeant Mark Robinson on Tuesday said the 22-year old father works an overnight shift at a local "big box" store. Robinson says the father and son live with the father's mother. The child's mother does not have custody and lives out of state.

Robinson says no charges have yet been filed against the father pending forensic tests.

Robinson also said the father had driven his mother to the airport Tuesday morning for an out-of-town trip. He fell asleep after returning home.

Police are working to determine how long the child may have been in the water.