‘I was trying to do everything’: Mom of 3-year-old who wandered off, drowned in neighbor’s pool speaks out

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STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — The mother of a three-year-old girl who drowned in a neighbor’s pool after slipping away from home said her daughter had autism and frequently ran away.

Jessica Baksi, the mother of Aria Kalinich, said the little girl was non-communicative and that she just met with a doctor to come up with a solution.

“We are heartbroken and we are still in shock,” she said. “I was trying to do everything I could to prevent this from happening again and now just like that she’s gone.”

Baksi said her 11-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter were home when everything happened. She said she ran to McDonald’s to get food for them.

Police believe the girl slipped away from her home and was running around her neighborhood as witnesses tried unsuccessfully to catch her. After a witness called 911, Strongsville police searched about 30 minutes, until they discovered the girl in a neighbor’s 4 1/2 foot deep backyard pool, just a few doors down from where she lived.

Neighbors say the child was able to climb fences and several say they’ve seen her wandering the neighborhood alone before.

Strongsville police say they are still investigating the incident.

Continuing coverage, here.

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