Heart attack likely caused death in NY lake rescue

Associated Press Modified: August 8, 2012 at 1:47 pm •  Published: August 8, 2012

CARMEL, N.Y. (AP) — A heart attack probably caused the death of a woman whose body was found with a crying 6-year-old clinging to it in the middle of a reservoir, a coroner said Wednesday.

Putnam County Coroner Dr. Hari Chakravorty said an autopsy revealed that Pamela Kaner, a friend of the girl's family, did not drown. The 59-year-old woman suffered from hypertensive heart disease and "did suffer a heart attack," he said.

The finding is preliminary until toxicology tests are completed, he said.

The girl, whose name has not been made public, was rescued Monday when boaters heard her crying on Lake Gleneida in Carmel. They found her holding onto the body, loaded her into their boat and took her to shore.

Carmel Police Chief Michael Johnson said the girl told police that Kaner, of Brewster, who was caring for her while her mother ran an errand, took her into the water and was holding her when something went wrong.

The bodies of drowning victims usually sink, then return to the surface as they decompose, Johnson said Tuesday. Kaner's body was retrieved by firefighters, who paddled out in a commandeered boat.

The girl was treated at a hospital but was not seriously injured.

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