Plum father charged in drowning of 3-year-old daughter
A Plum man whose 3-year-old daughter drowned in a home swimming pool last week told police he left his two young children alone at the in-ground pool while he went inside to make a drink, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.
Charles Mitchell, 27, told police that when he came back outside and saw Ca-Nayah Mitchell submerged in the deep end of the pool, he dove in, pulled her out and started performing CPR, the complaint said.
Mitchell has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and two counts of child endangerment. All three charges are felonies.
Casey White, the attorney representing Mitchell, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Mitchell said he had been gone for five minutes Aug. 1 when his daughter got into the pool, according to the complaint. She couldn’t swim and wasn’t wearing a life vest.
He said his two children wear life vests when they go in the pool because they don’t know how to swim, the complaint said.
After Mitchell dove into the pool in the backyard of his fiancée’s Ridgewood Court house and gave his daughter CPR, his fiancée called 911.
When Plum police arrived, they said they found the unresponsive child outside the pool. Medics rushed the girl to Forbes Hospital in Monroeville.
Ca-Nayah was pronounced dead about an hour after police had been dispatched to her father’s home.
Mitchell told police his two children live with their mother and had been visiting him, according to the complaint.
He told police that his 4-year-old son wanted to go swimming after dinner, but his daughter did not. He said his son put on a life vest and got in the pool. Ca-Nayah stayed outside the pool to talk with her brother.
Mitchell told police he told his daughter to put on a life vest, but she refused because she wasn’t going to go swimming, the complaint said.
At that time, police said, Mitchell went into the house to fix a drink. Mitchell said his fiancée also was inside the house.
Police wrote in the criminal complaint that the kitchen has a large window that faces the pool, and the rear screen door has side lights that face the pool.
In the kitchen, investigators found two open whiskey bottles and numerous cups that contained a brown liquid that smelled like whiskey, according to the complaint. On the kitchen counter, police saw open and empty beer cans and food containers and pans with old, dried food.
Mitchell originally told police he was making a drink of ginger ale mixed with an apple-flavored alcohol, but changed his statement to say he went in to get only a ginger ale, police said.
When investigators asked him about the alcohol, he told them it was from a previous party his fiancée had thrown a week earlier, the complaint said.
He denied drinking that evening.
Mitchell was arrested Friday and placed in Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, police said.
Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Madasyn at 724-226-4702, [email protected] or via Twitter .