Family of young girl who drowned in creek struggles following her death

- A Lithonia family turns to strangers for help after their 6-year-old drowns in a DeKalb County creek.

DeKalb County fire officials say the drowning happened at an apartment complex at 2900 Athena Lane last Thursday.

Damarria Hooten's Aunt says a neighbor was supposed to be watching several children when the kindergartener, who always had a big smile on her face, slipped away.

"It has been real tough, to be honest, a lot of us are trying to cope with it. It seems like my mom is taking it harder than us. I am trying to be strong for my mother and my sister," Shakeria Hooten said with tears in her eyes.

The family believes the apartment complex should have had a fence around the creek to prevent children from falling in the water.

"My sister even said, if she had known it was a creek she would have never moved over there. We did not even know there was a creek there, until my niece drowned," Tierra Hooten remarked.

The family says and already said the situation was compounded when they realized the life insurance on the Flat Rock Elementary School student had lapsed.

My momma had insurance on all her grandkids and that is what really hurt us the most. When she called to check on the policy they told her it was canceled. That is why we started this GoFundMe account," Ms. Hooten exclaimed.

The family is trying to raise $3,500 for the funeral expenses. Willie Watkin's funeral home is also taking donations.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so at

RELATED: Firefighters: Girl dies after being pulled from DeKalb County creek

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