Mom who lost daughter to Lake Erie waters offers warning

Mom who lost daughter to Lake Erie waters offers warning

Northeast Ohio has already lost several people to deadly waters this year, and Friday we spoke to a mother who lost her child at Edgewater 15 years ago.  She has a warning for everyone.

"We have all kinds of pictures, we still remember her and everything. She's still included in the family," Brenda Simms told us.

It's been nearly 15 years since 12-year-old Ashley Lynn Watson drowned at Edgewater Beach along with one of her friends.  Her mother, Brenda Simms has never been able to return to the area where it happened.

"We stay away from Edgewater.  I don't even live in Cleveland, we just moved away from everything."

Ashley's family says she was swimming with her sister, cousin and family friend, Robert Zunick when suddenly the undertow pulled everyone out and under.  Ashley's cousin was able to save her sister, Tiffany.  But Ashley and Zunick were carried too far away.  Both died at MetroHealth Medical Center.

"They both were buried together, they both were laid out together, here's their headstones they were buried side by side," Simms showed us in pictures.

Simms blames the lifeguards for her daughter's death. "I think the lifeguards should have done their job instead of congregating, they should have been patrolling with more people there," said Simms.

She says no one was ever held responsible for what happened to her daughter and family friend.  She's tried to have Edgewater shut down all together, but the next best think she says would be more lifeguards.

"We do what we can to prevent that, so the guards are here as a response unit. The first line of response is the parents and adults when the children are out playing."

According to Brian Andrews, a Metroparks Ranger, when lifeguards aren't present, it's "swim at your own risk" and there are no plans to change that.  Simms says the rick is just too much to take.  Her kids are never allowed to swim at any of the local beaches.

"No Lake Erie, the only thing close they get to water is the pool in my backyard and they are supervised."

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