A 1-year-old North Olmsted boy died accidentally after drowning in the backyard pool at his grandparents’ Clague Road home April 15, the Cuyahoga County medical examiner has ruled.

Zeke James died from asphyxia consistent with drowning, said Christopher Harris, spokesman for the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s office, on May 24. The death was accidental, Harris said.

Zeke was found unresponsive in the family pool shortly after 8 p.m. April 15. Family members saw he had wandered away from his play area in the house while they were watching TV. Efforts by family members and paramedics to revive him were unsuccessful and he died at Fairview Hospital in Cleveland, where paramedics had taken him.

North Olmsted police investigators found Zeke had apparently gotten into the pool by going out the back door of the home, which was level with the deck of the 4-foot-deep, oval pool. He then went over the deck and fell into the pool, where he was found, police said. The pool was uncovered because family members were going to prepare it for use with warmer weather coming, they said.

There was nothing suspicious about the death, said North Olmsted Police Chief Bob Wagner.

Dealing with the death of a child is tough for everyone involved, he said.

“It is truly a tragedy for this family, and any family that suffers a loss of a child,” Wagner said. “My heart goes out to them as well as the group of our city’s police and fire that have to deal with these types of calls throughout their career. It’s a very difficult situation for anyone to handle.”

Zeke and his older siblings lived with their grandparents, Raymond and Gina Stills, because their mother is on disability and lives in Parma. Family members are in the process of taking the pool down. They declined further comment Thursday.

Contact this reporter at assoceditor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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