Glenview PD Completes Drowning Investigation; Releases Report, New Details

The Glenview Police Department has concluded its two-month investigation into the Vicente Cardenas drowning death and has not filed criminal charges. Cardenas, a 4-year-old camper, was on a field trip to Roosevelt Pool with Wesley Child Care June 15.

Before he was , Vicente Cardenas was missing from his Wesley Child Care camp group, according to a recently released Glenview police report of the investigation into his drowning. 


When news of the 4-year-old Glenview boy’s death while on a camp field trip broke in mid June, the community was in shock.

, searching for details and explanations.

released the 85-page report (see attached PDF to read the report in its entirety) to Patch Thursday afternoon, following a Freedom of Information Act request.

According to the police report completed Aug. 28, Cardenas was with at the Glenview Park District pool when he went missing from a group of 19 campers (ages 4-5) and eight counselors. He was found unresponsive in the pool’s deep end shortly after.


The report includes interviews with Wesley staff, campers, lifeguards and Park District officials that pieced together the events leading up to Vicente’s death. 

According to the report, Vicente was last seen by a Wesley teacher at the bottom of a pool slide. When she turned to answer a question from another child, she lost track of Vicente, the woman said in interview with the report. 

Witnesses told police the facility was crowded;  officials confirmed 750 swimmers were at the pool that day. 

Wesley teachers also explained in police interviews they were not responsible for watching specific children, but the group as a whole.


Less than five minutes later, and after a group of five campers called for help, lifeguards pulled an unresponsive Vicente from the pool, the report explained. According to the medical examiner, it was undeterminable how long the 4-year-old had been submerged.

CPR was administered and a still lifeless Vicente was taken to Glenbrook Hospital where he died just before 3:49 p.m. Police closed the case without filing criminal charges; a medical examiner’s report ruled the death accidental.

As part of the investigation, police served a grand jury subpoena to the Glenview Park District. They requested any documents related to the case, including internal investigation reports and statements from pool employees.

The Park District’s attorney Ed Dutton has since refused the request citing attorney-client privilege, the report explained.

The Park District has not made any further statements since the report was released. Wesley sent out a letter to parents Thursday afternoon (see attached PDF to read the full letter) expressing the child care center's sympathies. 

DCFS is conducting its own investigation, which has not yet been completed. 

Stay tuned to Patch for updates on this developing story: Like us on Facebook and sign up for our free news alerts. 


Malta September 01, 2012 at 03:33 PM
everything and everyone cannot have a 'warning label ' attached. tragedies happen ....of course the family will sue for money;knowing full well that they sent a small child to the swimming pool with the attendant risks. so.....what shall we do? all stay home and pray for safety?.or accept that living has risks involved?
Malta September 01, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Yes! Let's just close all pools. Bike paths and parks. Just in case someone slips and falls. What if the child had simply slipped on the wet concrete;hit his head and had the same unfortunate outcome? Who is at fault? The water company? The concrete company? The staff for allowing home to walk on wet concrete?
Tony D September 04, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Agree with Becca, The life guards we not the issue, the fact the park dist didn't have enough of them on this day, another issue. I was there. Saw the whole thing happen. WAY under staffed poolside for as crowded as it was.
concerned parent of Wesley student September 05, 2012 at 04:09 PM
My children were swimming with Vicente that day as part of Wesley's camp. I had to fill out paperwork before camp started describing their swimming ability. In addition, they were signed up to start swim lessons as part of camp. My children did not wear life vests that day. They are good swimmers for their age. I do wonder if this tragedy could have happened to them as well. If it had been one of my children who had drowned, I am sure I would have been taken to task for not having them wear life jackets or not knowing exactly what Wesley's swim policy was. But I didn't think about that. I assumed my kids were safe even though I am always very cautious when I swim with them. I also know that, contrary to what we see in movies and what we might expect, a drowning person does not flail around in distress and does not scream because he/she can't get enough air. A drowning person can be very still as he/she tries to keep the head above water and get air before quietly sinking. I wonder how many people were right next to poor Vicente and had no idea that he was in distress? Does anyone know how this happened? Not rumors but truth?
concerned parent of Wesley student September 05, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Okay, I just located and read the police report. Wow. Vicente left the area where the teachers and other campers were and went to a different part of the pool that is separate from the toddler area where his classmates were and deeper. So the teachers were watching the kids they had encircled in the toddler area. Vivente went down the toddler slide and then must have gotten out of the water unseen and walked to a different part of the pool and jumped in. The part of the pool where he drowned is not connected to the part where the teachers and classmates were. It appears the in the brief amount of time that the teacher watching the little slide (as opposed to the other teachers who had a semi circle around the other children next to the litle slide) turned to answer a little girl's question, Vicente walked out of the pool in the opposite direction from the other teachers and classmates unnoticed. That explains why my children did not see any of this happen and why my child told me that the teachers had made a circle around him and the other kids and he was told to stay in the circle. This is a tragic accident, and I count my blessings that it was not my kids (it could have been) as my heart breaks for the Cardenas family and the Wesley teachers.


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