BALDWIN (KDKA) – Allegheny County Police continue to investigate the drowning death of 7-year-old Jessica Basnet in a Baldwin pool last week.
The owners of the pool and home where the incident occurred said they were on vacation in Florida when they got a call from a neighbor.
“She said they found a baby in your pool,” said Janell Loman.
Loman said that she’s had issues with her neighbors trespassing in her back yard before, and has caught them using her trampoline and swing set in the past without her permission.
Last week, Loman believes the neighbors had a “get-together” and involved her pool in the party. The 7-year-old victim was visiting the neighbors and wound up drowning in the pool. The coroner said Basnet was wearing a swimsuit. Police say she couldn’t swim.
“At this point, I don’t even know if my kids want to swim in the pool, if they’d feel comfortable swimming in the pool. I don’t know if we’re going to take it down or if we’re going to move,” said Loman.
Loman said her neighbors told police that the 23-year-old caretaker was watching the little girl and that the victim wandered off and wound up in the pool, but Loman said she’s not buying that story.
“We’re being told that she wandered off, but being here now I don’t know if I necessarily believe that,” said Loman. “Certain things like the little girl had a bathing suit on and our neighbors don’t have a pool and there’s no body of water other than our pool.”
Baldwin Police say the 23-year-old caretaker was watching the young girl when she had to go use the bathroom and left the child for 10-15 minutes. She said she couldn’t find the child and eventually found her in the pool. Police said the woman pulled the girl out of the pool by her hair and put her down on the driveway and tried to perform CPR. An off-duty Upper St. Clair police officer was walking his dog nearby and also tried to help.
Basnet was taken to Jefferson Hospital and pronounced dead. Police say neither the victim nor the 23-year-old caretaker could swim.
Loman said the little girl might have wandered away, but an adult had to have put down the steps to her above-ground pool. She also said all of her rafts and floaties that are normally on her back porch were in the water, along with a lot of dirt, concrete and other debris.
“There’s no way, they would have to be unlatched and then slide down and there’s no way a 7-year-old would be able to reach that or pull them down,” said Loman.
KDKA knocked on the neighbor’s front door to try to talk to the 23-year-old caretaker about what happened, but an unknown woman answered the door. She said that her daughter was out shopping and wouldn’t talk any further.
Loman said that she provided the variance for her pool and was told by investigators that it met all of the requirements. The sides of her above-ground pool are high enough that they did not require a fence around her pool. She said the steps were in the “up and secure” position when she and her family left for vacation.
No charges have been filed as of Tuesday afternoon.
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