A DISTRAUGHT family are searching for answers after their 23-month-old son died in his sleep weeks before his second birthday.
Days after returning from a family holiday, 23-month-old Nathan Horan was found dead by his parents Joanne and David at their home on Weaver Road, Frodsham.
“There had been no signs leading up to it, he’d been fine, he wasn’t unwell, there was no warning,” said Joanne, 33, a teacher at Victoria Road Primary School, Runcorn.
“On the Saturday I went food shopping in the afternoon, it was coming up to his birthday so I was looking for some extra presents.
“After his tea he went to bed as normal, he would have his milk and would go to sleep with his two teddies.”
On Sunday morning dad David went to wake up Nathan but found him unconscious and unresponsive.
“David shouted me and said he was dead,” said Joanne. “I phoned 999 and we tried to resuscitate him,”
Nathan, who was due to start at the Playden group at Frodsham Manor House Primary School in Easter, died on Sunday, October 31, three weeks before his second birthday.
“We’d bought all his birthday presents and an advent calendar,” said Joanne.
“I still can’t believe it.
“It’s been good having his sister Jessica here, she’s kept us busy.
“She does know, she’s given us a lot more hugs and she really hugs you tightly, squeezes you.
“She was here when it happened, and watched us trying to resuscitate him.
“We’re just trying to get back to normal.”
Mystery surrounds Nathan’s sudden death after a post-mortem examination came back inconclusive.
“We don’t know what it was yet – if it is cot death it’s quite surprising because it’s so late. It’s normally between birth and eight months,” said Joanne.
“I don’t know if they will come up with anything,” added dad David, 38, a car body shop worker at Winsford-based K C Autos.
“They’ve sent off 37 blood and organ tissue samples for tests but it could take months.
“If he had a fit in his sleep they might never be able to tell, it doesn’t leave a trace.”
Nathan suffered from seizures since he was about five months old, thought to be caused by his brain not being able to manage increases in body temperature, and slept with a monitor beside his bed so his parents could watch over him.
“He had MRI scans and ECG scans, the latest were in September and came back clear,” said Joanne.
“They were testing for epilepsy but they couldn’t find anything wrong with him.
“He was growing and developing normally.
“He was into everything, you couldn’t take your eyes off him at all. He was so loveable, always smiling. He was a big boy for his age and looked a lot older than he was.
“Everybody in the street knew him.
“When we would go walking he would talk to anybody, say ‘hi’, and speak louder until they would acknowledge him.”
David added: “He loved Peppa Pig, Bob The Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, trains, tractors, motorbikes.
“He was a typical boy. He would have his garage out all the time, and his train track.
“If we went driving out in the car, he loved to see tractors and pointed out police cars and ambulances and he loved going to Castle Park.”
Joanne and David painstakingly collected about 1,000 undeveloped photos of Nathan, from phones and cameras, and spent two days putting them into albums in chronological order before his funeral at St Laurence’s church, on November 12.
“We wanted to do it, so that people could look at them and see what he was like,” said Joanne. “It was a lot of hard work.”
“The church was full, about 150 people attended. We’ve had a lot of support from family friends. We received so many cards and bouquets of flowers.”
The family donated more than £1,000 to Epilepsy Action and for cot death research.