No charges to be filed after baby drowns in West Chester pond

It appears no charges will be filed after a baby drowns in a retention pond in West Chester.

The drowning happened in the Villages of Providence subdivision in West Chester Township around 2 p.m. Monday afternoon. Authorities say 9-month-old Bella Shi drowned Monday when the stroller she was strapped in went off a paved walkway and into a retention pond.

Officials say it's still unclear how it happened but it took more than 30 minutes from the first 911 call to pull that child from the water despite the efforts of strangers trying to help. According to neighbors who ran to the family's aide, the frantic grandmother - unable to speak English - could only scream and point to where the child might be.

Because of the language barrier, it took several minutes for anyone to realize a baby was in the pond. When they did, neighbors say complete strangers dove in to find her but were unsuccessful. Rescue divers arrived and after more than 20 minutes of searching found the baby 5-6 feet below the surface. She was flown to Cincinnati Children's Hospital where she died in the emergency room.

"West Chester Police have ruled yesterday's drowning an accident. It's just a tragic, tragic accident that occurred," said Barbara Wilson Tuesday.

Wilson says it appears no one is at fault. First responders only wish there was more they could do.

"If there had been a way to achieve a different outcome in yesterday's circumstances, they would have done anything to make that happen," says Wilson.

Community members are holding a prayer vigil and memorial service for Bella Chi Wednesday at Life Changers Church in Fairfield Township at 7 p.m.

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