By Ronica Shannon
Ashley Brock, 6, loved yellow rubber ducks, the color red, Mozart and especially water.
That is why her family has planned to release her ashes this weekend over the Atlantic Ocean.
Her fascination with water could have been what lured her to a neighbor’s swimming pool Sunday where she drowned in Brunswick, Maine.
Brock, who has a twin sister Alexis, was the daughter of former Berea residents Barry and Michele Brock. She was born in Lexington Feb. 7, 2002.
Her parents moved to Maine about three years ago so Ashley, who was autistic, could receive the best education possible, said Ashley’s aunt, Pat Brock, who works as an administrative assistant at Madison Southern High School.
She was a kindergarten student at Jordan Acres School in Brunswick. The school specializes in the education of autistic children.
Drowning is the leading cause of death among children with autism, according to information from the National Autism Association.
“It is the story we read practically every month,” wrote Ginger Taylor on her Web site, adventuresinautism.blogspot.com. “An autistic child gets away from their family, drawn to the water that they love so much, and drowns.”
Taylor, who is a Johns Hopkins University family therapist and a mother of an autistic son, featured a picture of Ashley and a short story about her on the Web site.
Ashley’s parents were having a cookout about 6:30 p.m. Sunday when they realized Ashley was missing.
“They immediately looked in the pool,” Pat said.
No one could find her until a man took a second look around the neighbor’s pool and found Ashley at the bottom.
“As soon as he got her out, he gave her to her mother,” she said.
She was later pronounced dead at Mid Coast Hospital. Her mother, paramedics and hospital staff all made attempts to revive her, according to a news story in the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.
Pat said she was really close to Ashley, despite the distance between them.
“I have a little girl, and she and Ashley were just five months apart,” she said.
Ashley was almost 2 years old when her parents discovered she was autistic.
“It just seemed like she woke up one day and couldn’t talk,” Pat said. “She was in Maine a week and could say her ABCs. She was doing so well in school up there. Her family uprooted their lives to take her up there. She was talking and communicating with people.”
Pat’s husband traveled to Maine this week to be with the family.
“He said that everywhere you look, there’s something that reminds you of Ashley,” she said.
Her unexpected death has left the family devastated, and is something that simply cannot be explained, Pat said.
“It was just a tragic accident,” she said. “We could say all the ‘What if’s’ we want to, but that still won’t make a difference.”
Ashley is survived by her parents and twin sister, along with her grandparents, Glenn and Mabel Brock; uncle Robert Brock and his wife Patricia; and another aunt, Sandra Hammonds, all of whom reside in Berea.
Visitation for Ashley will be today from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Brackett Funeral Home in Brunswick. A Mass of the Angels will be conducted at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Charles Borromeo Church, also in Brunswick.