AUSTINTOWN – Investigators are trying to determine how a 7-year-old Boardman boy wandered away from a group at the Leonard Kirtz School and drowned early Tuesday afternoon.
The boy, Nathan T. Kinderdine of Ewing Road, was found by a custodian at the bottom of the pool at the school about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday. Nurses at the school attempted CPR but they were unable to revive him. He was pronounced dead at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown.
Austintown police Detective Sgt. Ray Holmes said the investigation has just begun.
”You’re trying to retrace where he was and where he went. That’s the key,” Holmes said. ”It’s an accident. We’re trying to see how the accident occurred. There’s always reasons for the accident.”
Kinderdine was at the school as part of a enrichment class given by the Mahoning County Educational Service Center for special-needs students. A police report states Kinderdine is autistic.
His mother, Tracy, said Nathan was her first child and that his two younger sisters and younger brother have not quite grasped what happened.
”Nathan was our special little boy. He was our first born,” she said. ”He loved everyone he met. He held a special place in everyone’s heart. He was a very energetic and loving boy who will be terribly missed by friends, family and his two younger sisters and brothers.
”Our hearts have been shattered into a million pieces.”
Tracy Kinderdine said she did not want to comment on the circumstances of her son’s death.
An Austintown police report states the doors to the pool are locked after a swim class and that the last adults in the pool Tuesday left about 12:05 p.m. About 12:35 p.m., a group of six students, including Kinderdine, were taken into a gym next to the pool.
The report states one of the adults watching over the children took Kinderdine and two others into a gym, then went back into a hallway to help another adult take three more children into the gym. When the adult came back, Kinderdine was missing, the report states. They checked the restrooms next to the gym and found them empty. The restrooms have doors that lead to the pool and those doors were locked, the report states.
Minutes later, two custodians checked the restroom and decided to check the pool, which is where they found Kinderdine in three and a half feet of water.
Larry Duck, superintendent of the county’s Board of Developmental Disabilities, said the program lasts six weeks in the summer and has about 140 participants this year, with students ranging in age from 3 to 22. The program is set to end Friday and the decision was made to finish out the week as planned, Duck said.
Counselors were on hand at the school Wednesday to help staff or anyone else who was there who may need it.
This is the third drowning in the area this week. On Sunday, a Youngstown woman drowned at Berlin Reservoir after her grandchildren were in trouble in the water, and a Farrell, Pa, teen drowned Monday in the Shenango River in Sharon, Pa.