CHARLESTON, Ill. (WCIA) – Saturday, Jan. 15, started like any other day.
“Ma’Lyiah and her sister Bailey have daily chores, and one of them is they walk their six dogs,” Amanda Beals, their great aunt, said. “They have four pit bulls and then two little bitty dogs. It’s just part of what they do. They’re used to it. They take them out several times a day.”
Beals said on Saturday, the two little dogs ended up running onto the frozen pond. She said Ma’Lyiah followed after them. That’s when the ice broke and she fell in.
“Carlos, being the person he is, he instantly slips on his slippers and just starts running out,” Beals said.
Beals said her brother, their grandfather, Bill Croy, wasn’t far behind. Carlos Serafin, their Abuelo, had already jumped into the water. Before Croy knew it, Serafin and 10-year-old Ma’Lyiah were both under.
Beals said when her brother first called her, she thought it was just Ma’Lyiah in the pond.
“So, when I got there, he let me know that they were still, he couldn’t get to them, he couldn’t get to them. And I said who Ma’Lyiah? I said,’ where’s Carlos?’ And he said, ‘he’s in the pond.’ I said, ‘Carlos is in the pond?’ And he said, ‘yeah, I couldn’t get to him,'” she said.
The Lincoln Fire Dive Team was able to pull Ma’Lyiah out and get her to a hospital, where doctors restarted her heart. Beals said the hospital did everything but they couldn’t save Serafin.
“Carlos definitely, he died a hero, you know that’s just who he is. He would do anything for his girls, he would do anything for his dogs, he would do anything for anybody,” she said.
Beals said Ma’Lyiah is currently on machines to help her heartbeat and her lungs breathe. She said right now they’re dealing with her brain swelling. She said they should know more about brain activity later this week.
Beals has made a fundraising page to help with funeral and medical expenses. Over $32,000 of the $40,000 goal has been raised.