Mother of missing boy whose body was found in Inglewood public pool speaks out

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) -- The mother of a 9-year-old boy whose body was found in a Inglewood public pool is describing the traumatic incident, including finding her son hours after he went missing.

Kenyatta Taylor says her son Zavier Portis wandered away from her parked car Sunday afternoon around 4 p.m. at the Edward Vincent Junior Park in Inglewood.

Taylor says she had been out all day with Zavier, who had autism and didn't speak, and his two siblings, including his 15-year-old sister who also has autism. She added that during her visitation time with Zavier, he motioned to her that he was thirsty, so she pulled into the park to fill up a water bottle.

Moments later, Taylor returned to the car, where her eldest son had stepped out of the van opposite of where Zavier had been sitting. When she went to give Zavier the water bottle, she noticed he was gone.

Taylor says her daughter was only able to tell them the direction in which he wandered off.

Zavier was found at the bottom of the pool a few hours later after being reported missing within minutes of his disappearance.

"They had him on the ground and I looked, and I just lost it after that," Taylor said. "I picked him up and asked him to get up. Told him we were gonna go to McDonald's, where he wanted to go. Get up for mama. He didn't get up, so I held him and rocked him."

Kenyatta Taylor speaks about the tragic drowning of her son.


Detectives are investigating how Zavier was able to gain access to the locked facility.

"How'd he get in the pool? Those are my concerns. How did he get in that gate?" asked Zedric Portis, Zavier's father.

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The father of a 9-year-old boy whose body was found in a public pool has a lot of questions about what happened to his son.



Both Taylor and Portis say they were working on regaining custody of Zavier.

It is unclear what led to Zavier being placed in foster care.

The Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services released the following statement:

"State law protects the confidentiality of records for all children and families that come to the attention of child protective services, and prohibits confirming whether a child or family has been involved with the department, the status of any case and the status of any potential siblings. These laws are intended to protect the privacy of siblings or family members and to respect sensitive family matters."

Taylor says Zavier became frustrated when she told him it was time to go back to his foster mother's home. She added that even though Zavier had a good relationship with his foster mother, he wanted to stay with her, which she believes may have prompted him to leave his mother's van through a window that had previously been broken out.

Portis said he found out about his son's death on the news Sunday night and is demanding answers on how a tragedy like this could happen.

"It kills me that my son wound up in the bottom of a pool, and how'd he get in the pool? I don't know that either," Portis said.

An investigation is ongoing.
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