Family of 4-year-old drowning victim donates his organs

WATSON — The family of the 4-year-old who drowned in Watson on Oct. 26 decided to donate the young boy’s organs.

Justin Dendy drowned on October 26 at a home on Meadow Lane in Watson. LPSO says Dendy fell into a neighbor’s pool. He was transported to the hospital, but he did not survive.

READ MORE: Balloon release planned for 4-year-old drowning victim

Justin’s father, Dwayne Dendy, said his son was one of a kind and he and his wife Kathryn’s ‘miracle.’

“Justin was a special child,” Dwayne said. ‘He didn’t speak. We did hear him through playing videos because he would speak ever so softly. He had sensory issues. He was one of a kind. He never slept a day without my wife or I. If we were there, he was in the middle of our bed with us. If one of us was away, we had to call and talk to him at night. He was a loving soul. When he wanted something, he would take me to a cabinet and point to it like, ‘Come on, Dad, I want that’.”

“Justin was a very special person,” he continued. ‘He would grab my face and say, ‘I lub lub lub lub u,’ and I’ll never get that back.” 

Dwayne said a week after the accident, there was no fence or caution tape at the neighbor’s pool around the scene, which he said was ‘upsetting.’

Justin was the family’s miracle because Dwayne said he and his wife had tried to have children for the first 10 years of their marriage but were unsuccessful. He said just before they were ready to give up on having children together, they were successful through Invitro.

“We can’t just go back. He can’t be replaced,” he said. “Plus, we have to care for our other two children, and we both have older children from our previous marriages. Justin has always been his daddy’s boy. At night, he had to literally touch both of us. He was a miracle to us.”

The heartbroken father said his wife called him saying she couldn’t find Justin. He said based on footage he saw later, Justin went to play in the backyard and the neighbor’s backyard. Dwayne said there had previously been a fence around the neighbor’s pool, but it was not there now.

“I got here (home) from work, and they already had police looking,” he described. “A K-9 unit had just pulled up, and I jumped out of my car to start walking the woods. A couple of minutes later, I heard someone scream, saying, ‘They found him.’ I ran to the front, and I think Kathryn saw me running. When I got there, one of the officers was trying to move things and said I couldn’t go back there. They started marking things off, and as a father, I said, ‘You can’t stop me from going back there to see my son.’ We were on the outside of the tape when they pulled him onto a stretcher, we did not see him moving. We knew it was very serious at this point. As a parent, you see movies about this stuff, but you don’t expect it to be you.”

Dwayne said his son was transported to the hospital, and he was in the emergency room alone waiting for any news and for the rest of his family to arrive.

“I was begging God to please let him survive and to just take me,” Dwayne recalled while sitting in the waiting room.

Shortly after, the rest of the family arrived and the hospital staff delivered the tragic news.

“The staff came with their heads down and told us it was called at whatever time, I can’t remember,” he recalled. “They let us go in, and it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was hold my son, lifeless and cold.”

Justin’s 5th birthday would have been Nov. 21. Dwayne said donating his son’s organs is a way for Justin to live on.

“It was the right thing to do,” Dwayne said. “If Justin can live on through someone else, then we win. If he can help someone else’s life and help someone else live, then he’s that much more of a hero to his dad.”

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