Toddler drowning accidental; sitter reported her missing

Staff report


An autopsy by the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office concluded Saturday that the death of 20-month-old Alexis Steiner of Youngstown was caused by drowning.

Alexis, of 305 S. Hazelwood Ave., was found in a decorative outdoor pond Friday next door to her home. An attempt by a nurse at a neighboring home to resuscitate her failed.

“There absolutely is no evidence of inflicted injuries,” Dr. Joseph Ohr, deputy coroner, said Saturday afternoon. He said the toddler died of accidental injuries.

Around 3:30 p.m. Friday, police were called to 305 Hazelwood Ave. on the city’s West Side for a report of a missing child. When officers arrived at the house, they spoke to Catelyn E. Devellin, 20, and an 8-year-old boy, both of whom also live there.

Devellin told police she was watching her cousin Alexis, or “Lexi” as she called the toddler, and was waiting for the boy to return home from school, according to reports.

Devellin said she was on the living room couch and Alexis was in the same room on a chair watching television, police said. Devellin recalled that she texted someone and “passed out,” reports state.

She woke up to the boy coming from school and asking where Alexis was. Police said the front door was locked but a baby gate that was blocking the side door was “wide open” even though Devellin told them the gate was always closed.

Police said they still don’t know how Alexis got into the water. The pond, which varies in depth from 1 to 2 1/2 feet, was on the property at the house where the nurse was working, 237 S. Hazelwood. A wooden fence is in place between that house and 305 S. Hazelwood.

During a search of the house, police confiscated a shotgun and revolver believed to be registered to Alexis’ 30-year-old mother, Devellin’s cell phone and suspected marijuana and drug paraphernalia from an upstairs room.

Ohr praised the work of the Youngstown Police Department, which had about six officers on the scene of the West Side drowning.

“I personally want to thank the YPD for the professionalism and compassion they showed to the department and to the community,” Ohr said.