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Mother Updates Twitter As Son Lies Dying


12:22pm UK, Friday December 18, 2009


Mark Langford, Sky News Online


A mother posted updates on Twitter as rescue workers tried to save her dying son.




Shellie Ross sent out a message on Twitter asking her followers "please pray like never before, my 2 yr old fell in the pool" as paramedics tried to revive her son Bryson after he was found floating face down in a swimming pool.


Five hours later, when her son was pronounced dead, she went back on to the Twitter site to update her 5,000 followers, posting "Remembering my million dollar baby".


Moments later, she posted a photo of her son on the site, but her use of Twitter as her son lay dying has provoked outrage among the blogging community in the US.


Police in Florida said they were aware of the 'tweets' and would be looking into them as part of their investigation into the drowning.



Many were shocked that she chose to use the social networking site to reveal something so deeply personal.


"The first thing I thought when I saw the tweet was that it was very sad," said online poster Madison McGraw.


"But then I thought, 'Who would tweet that her son just drowned?' I couldn't believe it."


Mrs Ross, who is married to a US airman and used the tweet name of "Military-Mom", sent out a message at 5.22pm on Monday which read:"Fog is rolling in thick scared the birds back in the coop."


She and her 11-year-old son had been cleaning out a chicken coup while Bryson played in the garden.


Shellie Ross


Twitter row mum Shellie Ross


A minute later police in Mirrett Island, Florida, said they received an emergency call from Mrs Ross's 11-year-old son saying that his brother was floating unconscious in their pool.


Police spokesman Lt Bruce Barnett said Mrs Ross had asked her older son to turn off a hose inside the pool enclosure but the gate behind him did not close properly.


"When Ross finished cleaning she went inside and was looking for the two-year-old, who she thought was with her 11-year-old, and wasn't able to find him and started to panic," he said. "That's when she found him floating."


Lt Barnett said Mrs Ross said her son was in the water for "maybe five minutes" and performed CPR on her son before paramedics arrived.


Mrs Ross defended her use of Twitter. "Nobody has a right to question" why she tweeted, she said, adding: "I didn't tweet-by-tweet the accident."


The messages and photos were later removed from the website and Mrs Ross has now made her Twitter account private.

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