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Coroner: Indiana toddler likely died from drowning

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Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, 10:04 a.m.

An Indiana County mother performed CPR on her 13-month-old son on finding him face-down in a bathtub, authorities said on Sunday.

She could not revive the boy, Ryden Wesley A. Thomas Jr., and he was pronounced dead at 8:32 p.m. Saturday in Indiana Regional Medical Center.

Preliminary autopsy results were consistent with drowning, and there did not appear to be evidence of other trauma or physical abuse, county Coroner Michael Baker said.

Baker said Ryden was in the tub with two siblings, ages 2 and 3. He said the mother, identified by authorities as Tonya N. Thomas of Roush Drive, White Township, left the children for a few minutes while she attended to another matter. He did not say what she was doing.

Tonya Thomas contacted the Indiana County 911 center at 7:54 p.m. and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Ryden until emergency medical services personnel from Citizens Ambulance Service arrived at the home, authorities said.

State police at Indiana said in a brief statement that they are investigating the circumstances leading up the boy's drowning.

Ryden also is survived by his father, Wesley Thomas; two brothers, Nevaeh G. and Aiden C. Thomas, at home; and two sisters, Alenah and Alyssia Thomas, both of New Alexandria.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in Richard L. Shoemaker Funeral Home, Blairsville. A funeral service will be conducted at 8 p.m. Tuesday in the funeral home.

The family has asked that memorials be in the form of contributions to the funeral home to help pay for funeral expenses.

Mary Pickels is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. She canbe reached at 724-836-5401 or Staff writerJoe Napsha contributed to this story.

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