PENNSVILLE —  A 4-year-old boy who drowned Sunday in his family's swimming pool loved to swim, and may have climbed out a bedroom window to leave the house just minutes before his lifeless body was found in the water, police said Monday.

According to Pennsville Police Chief Allen J. Cummings, the young boy was playing with siblings just before the incident occurred. Cummings said his parents were inside their South Broadway home at the time and when the child's father went to gather the children together for dinner, the 4-year-old was missing.

It was when the father went to the backyard that he discovered his son in the swimming pool, Cummings said. The father pulled the child from the water, but the boy was unconscious and not breathing, Cummings said.

Police officers responded at about 5:17 p.m. and began CPR, the chief said. The child was brought to The Memorial Hospital of Salem County in Mannington Township, where he was pronounced dead a short time later, Cummings said.

According to the chief, the family had not yet covered the above-ground swimming pool for the year.

Cummings said he wasn't sure if there was still a ladder in the pool that the child may have climbed, or if a fence surrounded it, but he said the swimming pool did meet all of the state and local code requirements for safety. The chief said a preliminary investigation determined that the boy may have climbed from a bedroom window to get outside.

On Monday, crews from the Pennsville Fire Department went to the family's home and drained the pool. Cummings said police are planning to continue the investigation into the child's drowning.

“Everything is still under investigation. We’re gonna interview them a little more after the funeral," Cummings said.

According to the chief, the family planned to make funeral arrangements on Monday.

An autopsy conducted Monday morning determined that the child's death was accidental, Cummings said.

The chief told New Jersey 101.5 that he's met with members of the family as well as the police officers who responded and began administering CPR to the young boy. he said he is making sure that counseling will be available for those officers, if needed.

At this time, Cummings said, he is not releasing the name of the child, his family or the exact street address. The family also has three other children in the home, ages 3, 8 and 11, the chief said.

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

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