Toddler who died in Denver Saturday was 'a runner,' grandmother says

DENVER - The grandmother of a toddler who apparently drowned in the South Platte River on Saturday says he was "a runner."

Virginia Hurtado told 7NEWS that Amari Furqan had been punished before for running out of the house.  On Saturday, Amari's mother was in the shower when Amari pushed out the screen on his bedroom window and ran out of their residence in the 900 block of Alcott Way, Hurtado said.

A search of the immediate area failed to turn up any trace of Amari. 

Neighbors told the Denver Post that they recalled seeing a toddler in his diapers wandering in the area around 10 a.m.  One witness, who didn't wish to be identified, told the newspaper she was about to go out and check on him when she was distracted by her own children.

Amari was found unconscious in a small landscaped area along the river, inside a fence that surrounds the work that is apparently still under construction. 

A neighbor said a boy in the community had pulled the child from the water before police arrived.

Fabian Perez told the Post that he thought it was odd when he drove off to work that morning that a gate landscaping crews usually closed in the evening was left open, apparently overnight.

"They shouldn't have left that gate open," said Perez, who added he thinks the young child wouldn't have reached the river otherwise.

Amari was pronounced dead a few hours later, after doctors worked unsuccessfully to revive him.

Denver Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the boy's death.  

A makeshift memorial to the boy has sprung up on the fence surrounding the landscaping project.

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