Share this article

print logo

1-year-old girl drowns in Akron

A 1-year-old girl who wandered unnoticed from her Akron home drowned Thursday evening in a 2-foot-deep children’s swimming pool in the backyard.

Charliebeth Vohwinkel, the daughter of a member of the village’s volunteer fire department, managed to leave her parents’ East Avenue home and enter the metal-framed pool, which is about 6-feet wide, authorities said.

She was discovered in the pool by her mother just before 8 p.m. and the Akron Fire Company was summoned, according to Akron Police Chief Richard Lauricella.

“The mother thought the child was playing in the house and lost track of her. She went outside where other siblings were and then found the child in the pool,” a police source familiar with the investigation said.

Lauricella said officers responded to the call.

“When we arrived, members of the Akron Fire Department were providing first-aid, and it became readily apparent we needed assistance, and so we requested investigators from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office,” Lauricella said.

The child was taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Amherst, where she was pronounced dead, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Scott Zylka.

Erie County Child Protective Services also is conducting an investigation.

The Akron Fire Company issued the following statement Friday afternoon:

“On Aug. 28, 2014, a member of the Akron Fire Company suffered an unspeakable family tragedy, resulting in the death of one of our firefighter’s children. The Akron Fire Company prides itself on our deep commitment to our firefighters and their families, and to the spirit of brotherhood and support which exists in the fire service. We respectfully decline to give any interviews at this time and will not be issuing any public statement in regards to this tragic event.”

Erie County Undersheriff Mark N. Wipperman declined to comment, except to say, “We’re investigating what appears to be a tragic incident.”