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Tarentum pool death accidental, not drowning

| Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 5:54 p.m.
An Allegheny County detective takes photos of the swimming pool behind 550 East Eighth Avenue in Tarentum after a woman was found dead there on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
An Allegheny County detective takes photos of the swimming pool behind 550 East Eighth Avenue in Tarentum after a woman was found dead there on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.
An Allegheny County forensics investigations unit works at 550 East Eighth Avenue in Tarentum after a woman was found dead in a swimming pool behind the house on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
An Allegheny County forensics investigations unit works at 550 East Eighth Avenue in Tarentum after a woman was found dead in a swimming pool behind the house on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.
Allegheny County detectives measure the swimming pool behind 550 East Eighth Avenue in Tarentum after a drowning on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Allegheny County detectives measure the swimming pool behind 550 East Eighth Avenue in Tarentum after a drowning on Tuesday, July 12, 2016.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office said a woman found dead in a Tarentum swimming pool Tuesday afternoon didn't drown.

The county Medical Examiner's Office identified the woman as Danielle Meskel, 29, of Pittsburgh. An autopsy revealed she died of blunt force trauma to her neck. Her death was ruled accidental.

County spokeswoman Amie Downs said emergency responders were called to the house, near Pearl Street, shortly after 4 p.m. for a report of an unresponsive female.

Meskel was declared dead at the scene, Downs said.

The county police homicide unit investigated, which is routine for incidents involving a death.

A woman who said she owns the home, but declined to give her name, said she returned home from work to find bystanders performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the victim. The homeowner, a nurse, said she believed the victim was too far gone for CPR.

County property records show the home is owned by Beth Silliman.

Brad James, deputy chief of Eureka Fire Rescue EMS, confirmed bystanders were performing CPR when medics arrived.

The homeowner said she did not know Meskel: “I've never seen her before.”

The homeowner said police told her Meskel likely was “pool jumping” — using strangers' swimming pools when no one is home. The homeowner said she's unaware of anyone using her pool without permission before.The homeowner said a man whom she did not know was with the victim.

A dazed man sitting in the alley said he was in a Nissan SUV with Meskel when they drove by the back of the house on Pearl Street, an alley that intersects with East Eighth Avenue before wrapping around the houses.

The man said Meskel claimed she was hot and wanted to jump in a backyard pool visible on a hillside above the alley. The man said he believed Meskel knew the pool's owner.

The man said he sat in the car using Snapchat on his cellphone before he noticed a commotion above him. He said that's when he realized Meskel was in trouble.

Police escorted the man from the scene before he could provide a reporter his name. He was not handcuffed and did not appear to be under arrest.

The SUV was towed away.

Liz Hayes is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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