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Girl found in Rodgers Middle School pond drowned, autopsy shows

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 07:00 PM
TAMPA -

An 11-year-old girl with Down syndrome who wandered away from Rodgers Middle School died by drowning, medical examiners said.

Jenny Caballero slipped away from a gym class on Monday and was found dead in a nearby pond.

Examiners completed an autopsy Tuesday.

"The cause of death was drowning, the manner of death was accidental," said Dick Bailey, spokesman for the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office.

Detectives were at the school Tuesday, piecing together how the girl was able to walk away unnoticed by adults from a gymnasium packed with 140 students. About 20 of those were special needs students from her trainable mentally handicapped class.

The girl was last spotted about 12:35 p.m. Monday when a student reported seeing her walk out the door. It was 1:01 p.m. when someone called 911.

Her body was found about 5½ hours later after the school and nearby areas had been searched by deputies and volunteers.

Stay with TBO.com for updates.


rreyes@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7920

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