A women’s football team expressed sorrow Sunday over the loss of a player who died in an attempt to save a five-year-old boy from drowning. He also died in the incident, which reportedly occurred Saturday afternoon at a Houston residence owned by former Major League Baseball star Carl Crawford.
A spokeswoman for the Houston Police told the Houston Chronicle that the woman, subsequently identified as Bethany Lartigue, jumped into a backyard pool after the boy began having trouble breathing while swimming. They were unresponsive as they were taken to a hospital and were later declared dead, the spokeswoman said.
“This weekend, a terrible accident occurred at my residence resulting in the tragic loss of two precious lives,” Crawford said in a statement Monday (via the New York Post). “It’s devastating, I’m in complete shock and don’t really know how to move forward in this moment because my heart aches so deeply for the families.”
Lartigue, 25, was not related to the boy, her brother told the Houston Chronicle, which reported Sunday that an official cause of death has yet to be announced by Harris County (Texas) authorities. The brother, Brandon Lartigue, said his sister was a good swimmer and her family had questions about the circumstances surrounding her death.
“That’s something we’re trying to put together about what happened,” he said. “She wasn’t the type of person to be irresponsible.”
“Our hearts are heavy. We know you have found eternal peace,” Bethany Lartigue’s team, the Dallas-area Arlington Impact of the Women’s Football Alliance, said Sunday while promising to retire her jersey number. “Your soul touched us all! You were our soldier, teammate, friend & SISTER!”
Our hearts are heavy. We know you have found eternal peace. Your soul touched us all! You were our solider, teammate, friend & SISTER!We will retire the #4 in your honor! You are #4EVEROURHERO
“We (the WFA) are saddened by this tragedy and pray for Bethany, the young boy, their families and friends during this difficult time,” the league, which suspended its 2020 season amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, said in a statement provided to The Post. “The Arlington Impact & the Lartigue family have over 2500 football sisters ready to support them however we can.”
According to KHOU, family members of Lartigue said she was in a romantic relationship with a woman signed to Crawford’s record label, 1501 Certified Entertainment. They had been spending time recently at Crawford’s residence and Lartigue had been involved in video shoots, said her family members, who claimed they were told that the boy was the son of another woman who was also shooting music videos at the home in north Houston.
A rapper who had a single released Friday on Crawford’s label, Erica Banks, took to social media Sunday to post footage of herself with Lartigue.
View this post on Instagram
i can’t believe this man 💔 you promised you’d never leave my side, we said we’d die together. you made me love myself more, you always told me i was your favorite person, & you made my life 10x more fun, even if it was just goin down the street for food. ppl always say they loved our chemistry man. you were the only person i wanted. we were so happy. thank you so much for coming into my life and making me your special girl. forever my love 💘 #7 🤞🏾💚 @geaux_yella
“You promised you’d never leave my side, we said we’d die together,” Banks wrote on Instagram. “You made me love myself more, you always told me i was your favorite person, & you made my life 10x more fun, even if it was just goin down the street for food.”
1501 Certified Entertainment could not be immediately reached Monday for comment.
Crawford was a four-time all-star outfielder who spent his 15-year career with the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers, earning almost $180 million in salaries and bonuses (per Spotrac). He retired after the 2016 season and created 1501 Certified Entertainment with, according to the label’s website, the “intention to give undiscovered and underprivileged artists an opportunity to grow and shine.”
In his statement, Crawford said that after he reached out to the families involved in the drowning incident, he agreed to share a joint message on their behalf: “We are heartbroken and deeply saddened by our loss. We ask for your continued thoughts and prayers for all those involved, as we begin the difficult grieving process ahead. Out of respect for the lives that have been lost, we ask that you provide us the necessary privacy required to grieve and properly mourn the loss of our loved ones. Please keep the families in your prayers.”
“It has not processed yet,” Brandon Lartigue said to the Houston Chronicle. “We’re dealing with a lot of things right now because it’s unexpected – the death of someone who had a lot of promise in life.”
“Bethany loved kids, so it’s not surprising to the family that she would try to save this boy,” his wife, Monique Lartigue, told the newspaper. “She always loved kids.”
In March, the Impact offered this description of Lartigue: “Always got a joke to tell but when it’s time for business on that field, she’s a force to reckon with.”
The team posted a video clip Monday in which Lartigue spoke of her pride in playing on a football team and having the chance to expand long-standing boundaries for women in sports.
“We’re pushing for something that’s bigger than just us,” said the Louisiana native. “Like, whenever we’re little, we’re taught pink is a girl color and blue is a boy color – you know that’s pushed. And oftentimes when we get older we have our own opinions, but we don’t usually sway far from that, so I think this is kind of giving us a chance to show people from all walks of life that you can do anything that you want to do, and it doesn’t necessarily have to have a gender to it.”
“I think that we can do anything that we put our minds to,” she added, “because, like everyone said, growing up we weren’t pushed to play football. You’re pushed to go do cheerleading, or do tennis, or do softball, things like that. So actually having a team, that people are serious about playing just like you are, it makes me feel good.”
At a GoFundMe page set up to help defray funeral expenses for Lartigue, her aunt wrote, “In the blink of an eye she was taken from us way too soon. She lost her life trying to save someone else’s. Because that is the kind of person my niece was.”