KINGSPORT, Tenn. - A trip to sell a lawnmower turned tragic for one local family last weekend after a nine-year-old girl accompanying her father apparently wandered off.
We talked to the girl's father in an exclusive interview about what happened next...
He turned his head for just a minute, and she was gone; that's what the father of little nine-year-old Ashley Vincente told us through tears Monday.
He tried to save his daughter's life after finding her floating in a pool.
Father Nicholas Vincente tells us she was known for her bright smile. "She's a special girl," he said, adding that Ashley loved life.
On Sunday afternoon, Ashley accompanied her father to a home on Samuel Street in Kingsport, where he was selling a lawnmower to the homeowner.
Ashley had Down's syndrome, and had recently had open-heart surgery.
Her family says she couldn't wait to spend the day with her dad. When they arrived at the home, the two men were looking at the lawnmower while deputies say Ashley played nearby.
Moments later her father tells us she wandered off. Both he and the homeowner began frantically searching for her.
Precious minutes passed, and then Nicholas Vincente found his only child floating in a pool on the property that was surrounded by a fence.
He pulled her out as a nearby resident called 911.
Paramedics rushed Ashley to the hospital, but it was too late. Doctors pronounced her dead at the scene.
Ashley's aunt Anna Marie Cruz consoled the girl's mother, who couldn't even speak to our crew. "Everybody needs to hug their child every day.You never know when something like this is going to happen to your kids," she said. "Anything can happen."
The sheriff's office is investigating, but says right now it appears to be a tragic accident.