An 8-year-old boy visiting from Aruba and preparing for a trip to Disneyland died after somehow falling from the rooftop of an Aventura apartment building Thursday while playing hide and seek with his brother, police said.
Police said initial indications were that the death of Justin Fernandes-Pedra was an accident but also that the boy for some reason had “jumped off the roof” of the 12-story Echo condominium at 3500 NE 188th St. He landed in Peace Park.
Despite repeated attempts to resuscitate the child, he was pronounced dead after being airlifted to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood. Police said the child and his father, who both live in Aruba, were visiting the boy’s mother at the apartment complex.
According to police, Justin and his brother were playing hide-and-seek while their parents were getting ready for the trip to Orlando. During their game, the boys left the apartment through a rear door and made their way to the roof of the building before Justin somehow fell to the ground.
People were in Peace Park, which has a covered playground and an exercise area for adults, at the time of the incident, police said.
Aventura Police Sgt. Chris Goranitis said police were speaking to witnesses, looking through video and waiting on a determination from the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner.
But, Goranitis said, “Everything points to accidental death.”
A vigil will be held from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday for the Aventura community to mourn the loss of Justin. The vigil starts at the corner of Northeast 188th Street and ends at Peace Park, 3200 NE 188th St.
Organizer Michael Alejandro Manzur asks that people wear white tops “as a symbol of purity” and to bring candles or lighters.