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Baldwin family considers moving after 7-year-old drowns in pool

| Tuesday, July 24, 2018, 12:30 p.m.
The Loman family’s pool in Baldwin Borough on Monday, July 23, was filled with debris, dirt, sticks, rocks and pool toys after neighbors used it while they were away. A 7-year-old girl was found unresponsive in the pool and later died.
The Loman family’s pool in Baldwin Borough on Monday, July 23, was filled with debris, dirt, sticks, rocks and pool toys after neighbors used it while they were away. A 7-year-old girl was found unresponsive in the pool and later died.

The Loman family was planning on staying in their Baldwin Borough home for many years.

They had just installed an above-ground pool last summer for their children, ages 6, 10 and 19, to enjoy.

Now, the only thing they think of when they look in to their backyard is how a 7-year-old Pittsburgh girl died after she was found unresponsive in the pool while the family was away on vacation last week.

“There’s a 7-year-old girl who drowned in our pool, and we have a 6-year-old daughter,” Mandell Loman said. “(My wife has) been torn up about it and visually playing it in her head.”

Mandell and his wife sat their kids down to explain to them what happened.

“We didn’t want them to find out about it from neighbor kids,” Loman said. “They cried extensively about it.”

It’s not just the pool, but the entire home that reminds them of the incident now.

“It puts us in a bad spot because we weren’t planning on going anywhere,” Loman said. “The whole reason we put a pool in last year was we decided we were gonna be here a while.”

The Loman family was on vacation mini golfing in Florida on Thursday evening when they got a call from a neighbor informing them of the tragic news.

“We got a call that the house had been basically turned in to a crime scene because of what happened,” Loman said.

Neighbors told the family that their next-door neighbors on Elmwood Drive threw a party that extended into the Lomans’ backyard. A group of partygoers of all ages went in the pool, including the girl, who was wearing a bathing suit, Loman said.

“It wasn’t a case of a young little girl who wandered off. She came over to swim,” Loman said. “It wasn’t just a coincidence that we just happened to be away when this happened.”

The neighbors had never gone in to the Lomans’ pool before, but had used their trampoline and swingset without permission, Loman said. The two families were not friends.

The Loman family has not talked to their neighbors since the incident.

“Anytime they’ve seen us out since, they hurry up and go into the house,” Loman said.

Efforts to reach the neighbors Tuesday were not successful.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the girl Monday as Jessica Basnet. Allegheny County police homicide detectives are investigating.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Theresa at 412-380-5669, or via Twitter @tclift.

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