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3-year-old girl drowns in Pa. backyard pool

June 26, 2008

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A 3-year-old Chambersburg girl drowned in a backyard pool Tuesday evening in Hamilton Township, according to Pennsylvania State Police and Franklin County Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner.

Mia N'Shae Shaffer was found floating in an above-ground pool at a house at 803 Middle Drive, police said. Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner said the 911 call from the house came in at 7:08 p.m. and the girl was taken by ambulance to the emergency room of Chambersburg Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:40 p.m.

Shaffer and two other children, ages 3 and 5, had been swimming in the pool, but had gotten out when it was time for them to eat dinner, Trooper Jeffrey Bopp said. Sometime after that, the girl apparently got back into the pool unnoticed, he said.

Shaffer was wearing flotation rings on her arms when she was in the pool earlier, but she did not have them on when she was found, Bopp said. There was no fence around the pool, he said.

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The girl was at the home of relatives, Bopp said. In addition to the children, six adults were present at the time of the drowning, he said.

Bopp said there was no evidence of foul play, and Conner said he ruled the manner and cause of death as an accidental drowning.

Twenty-four hours after the girl's death, a dozen or more adults and children were gathered behind the house where Mia Shaffer's grandparents, Donald and Linda Jones, live.

Donald Jones said he and his wife were not home at the time of the accident. Mia's parents, he said, live in the borough and were not among the people at the home Wednesday evening. The grandparents said they did not wish to be interviewed.

Arrangements by the Thomas L. Geisel Funeral Home in Chambersburg were incomplete.

-- Don Aines

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