JOLIET – “God must have needed another angel.”
That’s the only reason Serena Magosky of Joliet could offer as to why her godson – 22-month-old Traeger Archimedes Moore of Elwood – died.
On Saturday, Moore was found unresponsive in a family swimming pool in the 19000 block of Raymond Drive in Elwood. He was pronounced dead at 2:14 p.m. at Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, according to the Will County Coroner’s Office.
Magosky said the accident happened at 1:30 p.m. when Moore’s mother Jennifer Rafac, 30, of Elwood was at work. Rafac and Magosky are cousins, Magosky said.
Rafac and her three sons, which include Rusten Deihs, 10, and Syler Deihs, 8, live with Jennifer’s mother Kathy Farray and Jennifer’s stepfather Russ Farrey, Magosky said. Moore’s older brothers were with their father for the weekend and will remain with him during the investigation, Magosky said.
Magosky said she learned about the drowning last night at 6:30 p.m. Another cousin messaged Magosky on Facebook and asked if she’d seen Jennifer’s Facebook post. Magosky, who had worked all day, had not. So the cousin called Magosky and told her Jennifer had posted the baby had fallen into the pool and died, Magosky said.
“I was shocked and I was in disbelief,” Magosky said. “It was like the world stopped for a minute.”
Magosky said the four-foot pool has a ladder and deck area that can only be accessed through a locked gate. Magosky said Russ Farrey found Moore. A neighbor tried to resuscitate him.
“Russ was really good with the kids. He just adored them,” Andrea Magosky of Joliet, Serena’s mother said. “He did a lot of stuff with them.”
Russ has one daughter. He also helped raise Jenny, Serena said. She said the older boys are in scouting programs and Jenny is a scout leader. Serena agreed with Andrea that Russ is very involved in the boys’ lives and that Moore’s death has devastated him.
“He was carrying Traeger’s shirt around; he wouldn’t stop holding it last night,” Serena said.
Serena said she arrived at Jenny’s home about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, about 30 minutes after the Department of Children and Family Services arrived. Serena said she stayed a long time, trying to comfort Jennifer and was planning to return Sunday evening.
She recalled Jennifer’s difficult pregnancy with Traeger and how it caused Jenny’s sciatica to act up. A trained massage therapist, Serena said she would bring her massage table down to Jenny’s house to help relieve pressure on the nerve.
Serena said she also is the godmother to Jennifer’s oldest son and that Jennifer is godmother to Serena’s daughter.
“Jenny and I were very close,” Magosky said.
Andrea recalled visiting Moore at the hospital when he was born in September 2015. Serena said Jenny had to leave work to go to the same hospital to identify him. Serena said Tezak Funeral Home in Joliet will be handling the funeral arrangements.
“I can’t explain how heartbreaking this is,” Serena said.
Serena said Moore was a happy active toddler, very sweet and full of life, “a bright shining star.” Jenny called him “Nugget.” Serena said losing Moore is like losing her own child.
“I went to bed crying and I woke up crying,” Serena said.
An autopsy was performed Sunday. Preliminary reports found he died of drowning. The final cause and manner of death will be determined pending police, autopsy and toxicological reports, the Coroner’s Office also said. Will County Sheriff’s police are investigating the death.
Serena said she hopes people understand Moore’s death was an accident.
“This could happen to any family,” Serena said. “Please understand this accident could happen to anyone in the world.”
This story has been updated to correct the names of Rusten Deihs and Russ Farrey and that Farrey has one daughter and that a neighbor performed CPR. In addition, Traeger Archimedes Moore was born at AMITA Health Adventist Medical Center Bolingbrook.