Shepparton family shares its pain in losing son

By Liz Mellino

Shepparton's Hunter Boyle was a bright, energetic young boy who had his whole life ahead of him.

He loved people and was known as having a "heart the size of Phar Lap", piercing blue eyes and a big cheeky grin.

However the much-loved two-year-old tragically drowned during a freak accident in Grahamvale on Wednesday leaving behind his devastated parents Matt Boyle and Ashlie Napolitano.

The family members are now dealing with the unimaginable - grieving the loss of their "beautiful, little soul" who they said brightened up everyone's day.

“He was amazing, he was the best little human being to ever be born into this world and he was so special and so loved,” Ashlie said.

“We want to remember him as the happy little baby he was - it's so important for him not to be remembered as a statistic but as our boy.”

Hunter drowned in a Grahamvale dam on Wednesday morning while visiting his grandfather's farm.

He was feeding horses on the property about 11.20 am when in "a split second" he went missing and was tragically found unresponsive in the water a short time later.

Hunter was rushed to Goulburn Valley Health in Shepparton where doctors, nurses and members of the Royal Children's Hospital PIPER Unit spent close to seven hours fighting to save his life.

Close to 30 staff at GV Health fought tirelessly to bring Hunter back to life, and miraculously they managed to get his heart beating again.

Matt Boyle and Ashlie Napolitano with their son Hunter Boyle, 2.

“Hunter's little heart started beating on its own and obviously with the drugs they were giving him his blood pressure was up, his heart was beating and they were supplying him oxygen,” Matt said.

“But after hours and hours of trying to get him stable enough to get him on a stretcher to fly him to the Royal Children's Hospital he wasn’t stable enough to move.”

The fight was too much for little Hunter and he passed away at 6.30 pm that night.

“The doctors did all they could, everyone did all they could and Hunter fought so hard,” Matt said.

“They reduced the drugs slowly, took the pipes out and they gave us a chance to let everyone sort of say goodbye.

“I got to hold my boy and he passed in our arms.”

Hunter tragically drowned in a Grahamvale dam on Wednesday.

While the couple struggle to come to terms with the death of their only child, both Matt and Ashlie agreed a heartful thank you was necessary to all the staff at GV Health.

They also thanked the police officers and Ambulance paramedics who attended the scene and stayed with the couple as they helplessly watched their son fight for his life.

“I just hold those people in the utmost respect and the job they did was unbelievable - from the head doctors down to the nurses, from the bottom of our hearts I thank them all,” Matt said.

“The police were also amazing they attended the scene and they stayed with us at the hospital for hours and the Detectives as well, everyone was just rooting for him.”

Hunter tragically drowned in a Grahamvale dam on Wednesday.

The couple is now living day by day with its families support behind it and an outpouring of love from the community.

They agreed Hunter touched the hearts of many people in his short two years on earth and they admit this is how they want him to be remembered.

Matt hoped the tragedy would also serve as a reminder for other parents when their children are around water.

“Hunter had the biggest heart he was just too good for this world,” Matt said.

“If we can stop this happening to one other family then at least we know Hunter's life hasn’t been lost in vain.”

Police will prepare a report for the coroner.