Twin toddlers Elijah and Elyssa have passed away after being found last Friday in the pool at their home day care in Knoxville, Tennessee. A day care employee claimed to have left them alone to answer the door when another child arrived at the center.
The kids, who were nearing their second birthdays, according to the Knox County Sheriff's Office, were rushed to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, where Elyssa took her last breath on Friday. Her brother, Elijah, remained on life support for two days before passing.
"It is with much heartbreak that I tell you that Elijah has gone to be with his sister," the twins' mother, Amelia (who requested that her last name not be published), wrote on Facebook.
"They were formed in my womb and grew together," she added. "She was his other half. They were soulmates."
Sky Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Human Services, told WATE 6 News that the department has no record of the woman at the address ever having a child care license. However, because unlicensed child care providers are allowed to care for no more than four unrelated children at a time, it is their understanding that the babysitter “was not in violation of that when the incident at the pool occurred."
The kids' older brother, Marquette, told WBIR 10 News that this is something he will never forget.
"I really would like something like this to stop," he said. "Whether that means me becoming a lifeguard or just the community teaching kids at a young age to learn how to swim."
Erin Fielden, a close friend of Amelia and one of the organizers of Tragedy for Twins Elyssa & Elijah, a GoFundMe page designed to help ease the family's financial burden, said every time she looks at the donation numbers, she smiles and cries.
"I see each one of your donations, comments, I thank God for you all," she wrote on Facebook.
As for the children’s mother, Amelia, who was "too numb and lost right now" to speak with us, she wants the world to know that she is grateful for the love and support.
"They never were apart," she wrote on Facebook. "Even when Elyssa slept in, [Elijah] could only stand for her to sleep a little longer. Then would wake her. Even in death, they were together. He would have never been complete here on earth without his other half."
Her post went on to say that these two were her everything.
"I will never understand this, and I'm not sure how to live with this pain," she wrote. "But to prevent another family from suffering this immeasurable pain, today Eli became a superhero. His organs are currently on their way to save several other children's lives. I can't thank you enough for the support that we have been given."