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Published: Tuesday, 9/20/2005

Negligence is found in infant twins' deaths in tub

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

FOSTORIA - The drowning last month of 10-month-old twins Bryn and Drew Kleinmark was "accidental due to gross negligence," the Hancock County coroner has ruled.

Dr. Leroy Schroeder said yesterday his ruling was based on the fact that the young boy and girl were left unattended in the bathtub at their home Aug. 7. He would not comment on how long they were left alone, but said it doesn't take long for a child of that age to drown.

"At 10 months old, they're not very coordinated," Dr. Schroeder said. "Once they flop over and there's water in there, they don't have any way of righting themselves."

The children's father, Greggory Kleinmark, called 911 just after 6 p.m. saying in a frantic voice, "My babies are not breathing. Come on, please."

Both Bryn and Drew were later pronounced dead at Fostoria Community Hospital.

Seneca County Prosecutor Ken Egbert, Jr., said he was reviewing the coroner's findings to determine how to proceed.

While he said he likely would know what was going to happen in two weeks, Fostoria Acting Police Chief Phil Hobbs said he expects the case to be presented to a Seneca County grand jury Sept. 28.

Chief Hobbs declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the twins' deaths, other than to say, "The information that we've compiled in our investigation is going to be presented to a grand jury."

While the deaths were ruled accidental, medical experts say young children should never be left alone in the bathtub because they can drown within minutes.

Dr. James Patrick, Lucas County coroner, said many factors play into how long an individual may be under water and still be resuscitated, including the person's physical condition and the water temperature.

Little children, though, may drown in a bathtub "within a very short period of time" if left alone, he said.

"The important thing is that the little baby sitting there may look perfectly safe. But unfortunately if they slip down or something happens, they don't have the ability to get themselves out of trouble and protect themselves that older individuals might have," Dr. Patrick said.



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