Girl drowns in pool while at friend’s birthday party in Windsor

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WINDSOR, Colo. -- A birthday celebration turned tragic in Windsor after a 4-year-old drowned at a family friend’s swimming pool Saturday about 7:20 p.m.

The group of about 30 had just finished eating and were about to cut the birthday cake of a 9-year-old boy when the little girl slipped away and got into the pool at 18 Orchid Court.

They say it happened so fast -- a beautiful little girl losing her life in a place of play. Skylar Liston had just turned 4 days before. She had a bright, contagious smile -- and so full of life.

Pictures and memories are all her family has to hold onto. The girl drowned just 30 feet from family and friends in an above-ground pool.

Neighbor Henry Longoria has a similar pool. He said he keeps his six kids away from it by locking the gates and his home’s back door. He said he just doesn’t want to risk it.

“No one is allowed back there unless me or my wife is back there," he said.

But at the home across the cul-de-sac on a back patio near the pool, no one heard or saw anything. It’s why experts call drowning the silent killer.

They say say there is no violent splashing or cries for help -- and the struggle on the surface of the water lasts just 20 to 60 seconds before a child goes under.

“I can’t even imagine it being one of my kids,” Longoria said.

But Skylar’s family is now living it -- and they need help.

A Go Fund Me page says Skylar “impacted every life that she encountered in the most awesome and bright way. She was truly a gift and has now gained her wings. Please help my family with the burdens of laying Sky to rest. Anything helps.”

Drowning is the second biggest cause of accidental death in children younger than 12 years old in the U.S. behind automobile accidents.