Carter County Toddler Dies, Foster Family Speaks Out - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Carter County Toddler Dies, Foster Family Speaks Out

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A Carter County family is grieving this weekend after their 19-month-old foster child, Raymond, passed away Saturday evening in an Oklahoma City hospital after being run over by a car Friday afternoon.  Meredith Saldana has more on this story after sitting down with his foster family Sunday afternoon.

The Owen family has been fostering children for about 10 years and have housed over 50 children through those years and adopted three of their own.

They tell me this weekend has been a living nightmare for them, Raymond's family and the family of the man who was driving the truck.     

Raymond's foster father Dale Owen says, "He was just the life of the party and a gift from God and I was watching him close Friday.  He was right here with me and just in a matter of a few seconds he was gone.  There was 3 adults we had 5 boys in the pond and just within a matter of seconds the accident occurred."

The Owen family says all of their children enjoy being outside, especially swimming at their pond where the accident took place.  

"We'd been swimming for an hour and a half and he was building with the boards and stacking them and we teased him, we said Raymond, what are you doing building a church?  And he'd shake his head and it was a good day until everything turned tragic."

Heath Claborn, a family friend and Ardmore wrestling coach, was driving the truck that struck Raymond.  Dale Owen says Raymond spent hours riding a toy tractor, given to him by Claborn.  

"He loved that baby, he knew that baby very well and he loved that baby and he wanted me to say to Raymond's family that he is heartbroken and grieving."

The Owen children are having a difficult time dealing with the accident.

Tyson Owen says, "He was funny, but sometimes he got on my nerves."

I asked him, "So he was like a real little brother?"

Tyson answered, "Yeah."

His dad then asked him if he loved Raymond and he tearfully said yes.

Dale Owen added, "I pray for Heath because Heath's devastated.  It's unbearable for him, it's unbearable for him, to me this is your worst nightmare come true anytime a small child is killed."   

Many people in the community and local police officers who know Heath Claborn say he is a wonderful man and that this was just an awful accident.            

Claborn did submit to a blood test Carter County officials say results will not be back for a few more days.    

-Meredith Saldana, KTEN News

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