ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The family of a teenager found dead in a pond is fighting to change Florida's Good Samaritan Act. They said people who saw the teen before he died didn't do enough to save him.
Adrian Diaz, 18, accidentally drowned in a pond behind a hotel near the University of Central Florida on University Boulevard in September 2018.
His grandmother, Diane Hernandez, said she is heartbroken.
"We feel empty. There was nothing done. There was nothing done," Hernandez said.
According to an incident report from the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Diaz was with a group of friends on Sept. 21 and they were going to a club near UCF. Deputies said Diaz had been drinking.
The report states a friend told deputies he didn't realize how "badly intoxicated" Diaz was and left him near the pond to get help. But the friend told deputies when he came back 10 minutes later, Diaz wasn't there.
A grandmother is fighting to #getresults for her grandson after he accidentally drowned last year. She says 2 people could have done something to save Adrian Diaz, but didn't help.— Amanda Castro (@AmandaNews6) January 16, 2019
More on how she's pushing to change Florida's Good Samaritan Law at 4:30/5:30PM on @news6wkmg pic.twitter.com/fzHEn5SFHx
The report adds another man staying at the hotel saw Diaz lying in the grass near the pond. The man told deputies he appeared drunk.
Investigators determined Diaz accidentally drowned in the pond. His body was found more than 24 hours later.
Hernandez believes both men could have done something to save her grandson.
"If you see somebody in need, you help that person. There's no penalty for calling 911," she said.
Hernandez is now channeling her pain to get results so no other family has to suffer.
"My heart is broken and that's not going to heal. But at least I will feel that Adrian, my grandson, is going to help other families in similar situations," Hernandez said.
Her story is similar to the drowning death of a Cocoa man in 2017 after a group of teenagers recorded his death, but didn't help. The teens were not charged because there is no law that requires them to help.
State Rep. John Cortes said both families are now working together to change Florida's Good Samaritan Act.
He filed a bill that would require people to assist in emergency situations. If they don't, they could be charged with a misdemeanor. Cortes said the bill is receiving bipartisan support.
"We need to wake up and start saying something. So hopefully this will wake people up," Cortes said.
Cortes adds this is a humankind issue.
"When you see something and the guy is in trouble, why aren't you assisting? Why are you not helping out, period?" he said.
Hernandez started an online petition in support of the bill. She also planned a march at Lake Eola in February to raise awareness for her efforts.