9-month-old pulled from West Chester retention pond dies

WEST CHESTER, Ohio -- A 9-month-old girl who was pulled from a West Chester retention pond has died.

The infant was still strapped in her stroller when it rolled into a retention pond behind a home near the 8400 block of Windy Harbor Way just before 2 p.m. Monday afternoon.

Officials said a 7-year-old girl walking with her grandparents along a path near the pond was pushing the infant in the stroller when she lost control and let go.

"Through the course of some action or some circumstance the stroller rolled down the embankment and into the water," West Chester spokesperson Barbara Wilson said.

Butler County Sheriff's Office Dive Team officials found the girl in 10 feet of water, where authorities said she had been for about 30 minutes.

Officials performed CPR on the infant and took her to Cincinnati Children's Liberty Campus. She was then taken to Cincinnati Children's Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

West Chester officials ruled Tuesday the incident was accidental.

Deputies said the infant rolled into the pond while members of her family were out for a walk. The infant's older sister tried to rescue her and multiple people were in the water searching when emergency crews arrived.

A 10-year-old girl doing her homework nearby called police after hearing screams.

"I heard someone screaming and shouting so I told my mom that and then we came out and saw that there was (someone) swimming in the pond," the child said.

A woman in the neighborhood also called 911 as rescue crews arrived.

She told dispatchers she was having difficulty understanding the infant's family during rescue efforts because of a communication barrier.

"I don't think they're English speaking," the woman said after being asked what information she was able to get from the family. "Is there a translator at all? We don't know."

After hearing about the incident, neighbor Traci Taylor said she is glad she lives in a home that's not close to the pond.

She said her two boys, ages 6 and 3, are safer away from the water.

"When we bought this house I was pregnant with my first child and we decided we didn't want to live in a cul-de-sac because we knew we were going to have children," Taylor said. "The danger of living next to the pond sort of steered us away from living in that direction."

A prayer service honoring the infant will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Life Changers Church at 7474 Morris Road in Fairfield.

WCPO's Amy Wadas & Maxim Alter contributed to this report.

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