Toddler dies after falling into septic tank; family cautions others

SAN JUAN COUNTY, NM (KRQE) – A New Mexico couple has to bury their 3-year-old son after a tragic accident.

The boy fell into a septic tank and died.

The couple says they never thought something like this could happen to their child. Now they want to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else’s.

It was a week ago that Cassandra Riaski and her family went over to her parents’ house near Farmington to plan a funeral for her mother.

“My sister, myself and our children went over to my parents’ house to do some funeral handouts,” Riaski said.

As the adults took care of business, the kids went to play in their grandparents’ backyard like they always do.

“The kids were just outside being kids, being mean to each other and fighting with each other,” she said. “And then, not too long after that, is when everything happened.”

Riaski says her niece came inside because 3-year-old Ryder was playing in the mud. Minutes later, mom went out to get him, but couldn’t find him.

“I just kept yelling for him and telling him to come out, and it’s not funny, and I need to know where he was. Then my sister yelled at me that he was down there.”

The toddler had fallen into the septic tank and died. Officials believe Ryder may have been jumping on the septic tank lid when he fell through.

KRQE News 13 spoke with a pumping service to find out what people need to do to make sure this doesn’t happen to them.

“The best thing I could say is educate yourselves and your children. Know where the septic tank is and know if the lids are secure,” explained Brandon Hebert, owner of Demaree’s pumping service, LLC.

“Make sure they’re secure, and check on them monthly. It’s like a filter in your HVAC system,” Herbert said.

The Riaski family says they want to work with the state to make stricter rules for how septic tanks are accessed and where they are located. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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