Harrison County

Bayou View middle schooler who drowned in Gulfport pool loved to learn, family says

Ashton Tyler Cole, a student at Bayou View Middle School, drowned Sunday at an apartment pool in Gulfport.
Ashton Tyler Cole, a student at Bayou View Middle School, drowned Sunday at an apartment pool in Gulfport.

The child who drowned in a pool at a gated community on Sunday has been identified as a 13-year-old boy who apparently stopped by for a swim.

Ashton Cole lived several blocks from The Quarters on Church Avenue and had told his parents he was riding his bicycle to another friend's house, Harrison County Deputy Chief Coroner Brian Switzer said.

Ashton was not expected to be at The Quarters, about a block from the beach, and was found dead in the pool, Switzer said.

"We think he might have just stopped there and went for a swim," he said.

Ashton, who was small for his age, lived with his grandmother and guardian, Donna Cole. He attended Bayou View Middle School and loved to learn.

“One summer I spent $90 on educational workbooks and he completed all of them just because he wanted to,” Cole said.

A person who lives at The Quarters had left home about 5 p.m. and noticed a bicycle and clothing near the fenced-in pool. The person returned home about 7 p.m. and realized the bicycle and clothing were still here, but no child was in sight. The person called police about 7:06 p.m.

"The person couldn't see the bottom of the pool due to murkiness of the water due to rain," Switzer said.

Firefighters found Ashton's body in the pool, Switzer said.

Ashton had taken off his T-shirt, socks and shoes and wore his shorts when he got in the pool.

Police at first had no idea who Ashton was or who his parents were. They sent out an alert to the media.

Meanwhile, Ashton's family had become concerned when he didn't return home when expected. A family member went to the friend's house to get him but couldn't find him, Switzer said. His family reported him missing.

Ashton was taken to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport and was pronounced dead about 8:10 p.m., he said.

His death appears to be from drowning, but his body is being taken to Jackson for an autopsy since no one witnessed his death, Switzer said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Gulfport Police Department at 228-868-5959.

Robin Fitzgerald, 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews