Tragic details emerge about 6-year-old's drowning in DeKalb County

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The drowning death of a 6-year-old girl is triggering major concerns in the neighborhood where it happened.

Damerria Hooten drowned in a creek along Athena Lane in DeKalb County on Thursday.

People who live in the area told Channel 2's Kristen Holloway that the creek should've been blocked off.

Hooten’s mother, Raylithia Hooten, told Holloway that she had no idea the creek even existed and thinks a fence should be put up so this doesn’t happen to other children in the neighborhood.

“I never seen it, didn’t know it was a creek back there that was that deep. I don’t know why I wasn’t notified about the creek,” Raylithia Hooten said.

She told Holloway that she’s shaken up by what she calls a freak accident.


Damerria Hooten drowned after being in the water for a little over an hour before crews found her at the creek's deepest point, which is 6 feet deep.

“My kids wouldn’t have been going outside, period. We probably wouldn’t have been staying over there if there was a creek that deep that’s not blocked off, period,” Raylithia Hooten said.

Holloway went to the management office of the family’s apartment complex and asked if they planned to block off the creek. She was told Mercy Housing Management would call her back with a comment. They never did.

Holloway called them back and got no answer. She also emailed the company but has not received a reply.

“(There’s) over 1,000 little kids out there, multiple kids, so if it happened to my child, it can happen to somebody else's child. I mean, this is a real freak accident,” Raylithia Hooten said.

The girl's family has setup a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses.

Family members said Damerria Hooten was in kindergarten at Flat Rock Elementary School.