No One Knows How The 6-Year-Old Ended Up In The Water Or How Woman Died

CARMEL, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It was a disturbing discovery in the northern suburbs. A 6-year-old girl was found clinging to a dead body — in a lake.

It was a picture-perfect setting for an incongruous horror. Two men and a woman were using one of the row boats on Lake Gleneida in Carmel on Monday afternoon when they spotted a child and a corpse floating together approximately 100 feet from shore, police said.

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“It was horrifying, especially for the three people in the boat and the young girl. They rode over and rescued her and immediately called 911,” Carmel Police Chief Michael Johnson said.

WCBS 880′ s Sean Adams reports

The child is a local girl, and the body she was floating with belonged to her 59-year-old babysitter, Pamela Kaner of nearby Brewster, police said. Friends of the dead woman told CBS 2’s Lou Young she often walked the child along the edge of the lake, but never went in. Swimming is forbidden because the lake is part of the New York City water supply. Sources indicated Kaner was probably dead before she hit the water, because her lungs were still filled with air. The child might have been trying to save her.

A friend of the woman said she suffered from multiple sclerosis and reactions to medication, CBS 2’s Young reported. Paramedics were unable to revive her. Carmel police said the whole thing looks like a horrible accident, although the circumstances haunt everyone involved. No one but the child saw how she ended up in the lake.

“The thing is, nobody knows what happened. That’s what’s killing everybody. I mean, you just don’t know,” said Ballesson Ball, a friend of the deceased woman.

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The unidentified child was being counseled as the coroner’s office waited for test results before completing the autopsy report.

The little girl’s parents are estranged. Neither of them wanted to speak with reporters.

“We are saddened by the tragedy that occurred,” Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

New York City DEP oversees the lake and its detectives were investigating.

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