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Family of 5 dead after SUV goes into suburban Phoenix lake

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Authorities investigate the scene where a vehicle went into Tempe Town Lake today in Tempe

TEMPE, Ariz. » An entire family, including three young children, died Sunday after their vehicle went into a suburban Phoenix lake, authorities said.

Nazyiah Baxter, 2, was initially hospitalized in extreme critical condition but the boy was pronounced dead later in the day, Tempe police spokesman Michael Pooley said.

Emergency rescuers were called to Tempe Town Lake around 12:15 a.m. after bystanders spotted the family’s SUV enter the lake.

"Officers got on scene pretty quick," Pooley said. "When they got on scene, three jumped into the water immediately. One of the fishermen also jumped into the water."

Officers pulled a 1-year-old girl, Zariyah Baxter, and Nazyiah, from the car. They then got Glenn Edward Baxter, 27, and Danica Baxter, 25, Pooley said.

"Our guys did as much CPR as they could until they were transported to the hospital," Pooley said.

Pooley says all four were taken to the hospital, where the parents and Zariyah died.

At the hospital, detectives working to identify Danica Baxter figured out a third child, 3-year-old Reighn Baxter, was missing. Police divers went to the still submerged car and located the boy’s body around 10 a.m. He was strapped in a car seat in the last row of the vehicle, Pooley said.

Investigators do not know what caused the crash or what led up to it. Glenn Baxter’s body will be turned over to the Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner for an autopsy as well as toxicology tests, Pooley said.

Situated in the college town that is home to Arizona State University, Tempe Town Lake is a man-made lake that opened in 1999. According to City of Tempe officials, it can hold up to 1 billion gallons of water. Surrounded by more than 5 miles of paths, the lake is a popular recreation area for jogging, boating and fishing. It’s also the site of the swimming portion of the annual Ironman Arizona competition.

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