When Kuna farmer Richard Durrant sorted through photos and video of his 14 grandchildren Wednesday, it struck him how many centered on little Bayler Robins.
Something about the 18-month-old drew camera lenses — and people — to him.
“Just his smile and the way he’d always run up to you to play,” Durrant said when asked what stood out in his mind about Bayler, who died Monday on the family farm, Big D Ranch. “He was such a special child. He would always want to be with you and go wherever you were going.”
“He was just getting to the point of being mischievous,” Durrant said, noting that Bayler recently became fascinated with ejecting CDs from Durrant’s stereo and turning the volume up when the discs went back in.
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Durrant family members gathered Monday for lunch in the house at Big D Ranch, and when it was over Durrant opened a can of small olives that Bayler and six other young grandkids stuck on their fingertips, then quickly ate.
“We told them they could go outside and play,” Durrant recalled. “Bayler, like usual, was the first to get to the bottom of the ladder to go up the swing set.
“I don’t think it was more than a minute before his mother realized he hadn’t just gone back to the bottom of the ladder.”
A panicked search turned to the canal that runs at the edge of the yard. They spotted the toddler an estimated 60 feet downstream, on the other side of Ten Mile Road.
“I jumped in and pulled him out,” Durrant said. A trained emergency medical technician and former Kuna volunteer firefighter, he performed CPR on his grandson. Minutes later, paramedics arrived and took over. Bayler was pronounced dead a short time later at St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center.
The Ada County coroner confirmed Wednesday that the little boy drowned.
Irrigation is the 1,100-acre farm’s lifeblood, Durrant said, and children and grandchildren are taught to respect it from an early age. They also are also taught to stay away from the canal that runs through the property and across Ten Mile, he said.
“I don’t know if he saw something and went to chase it,” he said. “We don’t know what happened.”
Richard and Denese Durrant’s house and surrounding farm are generally filled with family. All seven of their children, including Bayler’s mom, Jamie Robins, work at Big D in some capacity. So does Bayler’s dad, Shane Robins.
Shane and Jamie Robins’ second child is due next week, Durrant said. They live about a mile away from the farm.
Bayler’s obituary describes him as a “momma’s boy” who “loved to be just like Daddy and work on the farm.” He also loved to wrestle and to flirt, the obituary said.
“Bayler could always be seen giggling and following someone around with a wrench or a measuring tape in his hand,” the obituary said. “He had all of his family wrapped around his little finger.”
Kristin Rodine: 377-6447