Boy, 3, dies after being struck by falling tree limb at Irmo park

Jacoby Latta (Source: Stuart Latta Facebook)
Jacoby Latta (Source: Stuart Latta Facebook)
(Source: Chad Mills)
(Source: Chad Mills)

IRMO, SC (WIS) - Authorities say a little boy has died after he was struck in the head by a falling tree limb.

Three-year-old Jacoby Latta was on a church picnic with family and friends Saturday at Irmo Community Park when the accident happened.

The child was reportedly playing with friends inside the playground when a large branch fell and struck him in the head.

Irmo Mayor Hardy King says the 3-inch thick, 15-foot long branch fell from 50 feet up. He says town workers haven't yet determined if it was a dead branch.

Jacoby was rushed to Palmetto Health Richland where he was pronounced dead Saturday night.

An autopsy shows he died from complications due to a head injury.

Jacoby's mother, Xaviera Hill Latta, posted on her Facebook page about the incident and her tough fight to even have Jacoby.

"Jacoby was and is our answered prayer, our miracle baby," said Xaviera. "Born at home through a wonderful water birth, healthy, when I was considered a high risk. God is amazing!"

Xaviera says she watched helplessly as the massive branch dropped 40 feet from the top of a tree in Irmo's community park as her son played tag not knowing the danger he was in.

Xaviera goes on to say Jacoby died doing "what he loved with those he loved."

But despite the traumatizing nature of the event, Xaviera spends the next several paragraphs thanking friends, family members, law enforcement officers, and even doctors and nurses from Palmetto Health Richland who did everything they could to save the boy's life.

Xaviera says she even plans to name her currently unborn son after Dr. Jason Peck, one of the doctors who worked on Jacoby.

"Do Not Enter" signs and locked gates now indicate the park is closed.

The town of Irmo sent inspectors into the park on Monday. An arborist inspected a tree and town leaders also took a look at the playground.

Irmo town administrator Bob Brown agreed to answer some of our questions on camera Monday, but after meeting at the playground he said he would not comment until the town's council discusses the situation and drove away.

There's no word on when the park will re-open.

Jacoby's parents say they're still grieving and remembering their little boy. They say they appreciate the prayers coming from the community during this very hard time.

The funeral service is tentatively scheduled for Friday at the Columbia Church of Christ. The time of the service has not yet been determined. All who attend are asked to wear 'Avengers' clothing if they can.

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