TROY — Troy Police Department continued its search for answers in the death of 13-year-old girl at Treasure Island Park’s harbor last Tuesday.
Lillian May was pronounced dead at Upper Valley Medical Center after she was pulled from the harbor area around 11 p.m. Tuesday evening.
Miami County Coroner Dr. William Ginn said the preliminary autopsy report ruled May’s death by drowning. Ginn said there was no evidence of foul play, head injury, or other trauma that could have contributed to her death.
May had been swimming in the harbor area with some friends, according to reports. The girls were playing a “hide-and-go-seek” style game in the water when May went missing. Friends had initially thought May had left and went home to her grandfather’s home on Lincoln Street. When she wasn’t there, they called 9-1-1.
Officials conducted a search of the dock area on Wednesday afternoon. On Friday, a crane was brought in to lift up the docks out of the water to be photographed by investigators. The area around the dock was estimated to be approximately 6 feet deep.
Security camera footage from the Smith’s Boathouse restaurant was obtained by police. According to Capt. Joe Long, the footage matches the stories from the children who were swimming in the area around dusk that evening.
Capt. Long said a complete report from the incident is expected to be complete by the end of next week.
May was a seventh-grade student at Troy Junior High School last spring. Her mother recently moved to Wisconsin for a new job and left May in custody of the grandfather in Troy.
Troy Junior High School Principal Dave Dilbone called May “a fantastic young lady.”
“She always had a smile on her face. She always had a positive attitude,” Dilbone said.
Dilbone worked with a crisis team and opened up the junior high school on Friday morning to welcome any students who may have needed to talk to a counselor. Dilbone also posted information from the Tri-County Crisis hotline to help provide support to students and parents on its social media pages.
Prior to the incident, there were approximately 10 children swimming around the harbor docks at dusk. The Troy-Miami County Library was hosting a movie night featuring “Finding Dory” at the amphitheater at Treasure Island Park that evening. According to witnesses, the victim was not there at the park to attend the event.
According to the city of Troy’s Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington, swimming in the harbor area is not restricted, but “is frowned upon.” The city has restricted fishing in the harbor area with signs prohibiting the activity installed last spring. There are no signs in or around the harbor prohibiting swimming or warning park visitors to “swim at your own risk.”
In 2017, at least six people have been rescued from the Great Miami River in Miami County. A 16-year-old male drowned in a pond outside of Piqua earlier this year.
A family friend has started a GoFundMe account to raise funds to offset the funeral costs for Lillian May. For more information visit, www.gofundme.com/gods-newest-angel-lillian-may
Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews