Phoenix family mourns 4-year-old who drowned in motel pool

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Many car washes are meant to raise money for good causes. But Monday morning on a quiet street near downtown Phoenix, there was one fundraiser no one wanted to have.

They are the family and friends of Frankie Villa, who drowned Saturday in a motel pool. They're raising money for his funeral.

"He was 4 years old. He knew all his numbers, he knew his ABC's..." said his grandmother, Patricia Villa.

She is beside herself, as is the rest of the family, at the loss of a smart and sweet little boy.

"He was a good boy like you could take him to church and he would sit there and be good," she said.

He was probably thrilled to be swimming Saturday afternoon with his family and friends at the EZ 8 Motel. But Police say Frankie got lost in the crowd.

"Apparently, there was a miscommunication between two families on who was watching the child." said Larry Nunez with the Phoenix Fire Department. "When they started to look for him, that's when a few of the older children noticed the child was at the bottom of the pool."

A teen pulled Frankie out and firefighters started CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The 911 call was one of 58 drowning calls Phoenix Fire has responded to so far this year. Of those 11 people have died. Eight adults, three children. That includes Frankie.

Family say that he always stood out to them. Now they mourn what would have become of their smiling little boy.

"There was something special about Frankie," said his grandmother.

The family has created an account for his funeral expenses with Bank of America. To make a donation, mention 'Frankie Villa' at any location.