Toddler Drowns in Sunapee Pond

— A 3-year-old Massachusetts girl drowned after she wandered off from her family while they were vacationing at Perkins Pond, police said Monday.

Sunapee Police responded to 58 Mary’s Road in Sunapee at noon on Sunday, where they found Brian Allen performing CPR on his toddler, Sidney Allen. The family had been outside when Sidney wandered away from her family for a brief time and her father soon found her unresponsive in the pond, police said. Allen performed CPR on his daughter until Sunapee fire and rescue arrived.

The toddler was transported to New London Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead. The Sunapee Police Department and New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s Office have said the death was accidental. The Allen family lives in Hubbardston, Mass.

The pond is about two miles from the Sunapee Middle High School and about three miles northwest of Sunapee Harbor. Mary’s Road hugs the pond, which is scattered with waterside homes. No one was at the Mary’s Road address yesterday afternoon.

From the road, it could been seen that the wooded paneled house sits close to the water, with a small, well-kept yard on the right side of the home. The home has a dock, where a boat sat Monday, and a square, green platform floated several feet away in the water.

A neighbor, who would not give her name, said she was home Sunday when the accident occurred and said many family and church members came to the home Sunday in support of the family.

Sunapee Police Sgt. Timothy Puchtler said he didn’t know how long the girl had been in the water before she was found, but called it a “brief time,” adding that he didn’t know the depth of the water.

“When it comes to a 3-year-old child, 6 inches or 600 feet of water, it doesn’t matter,” Puchtler said.

During the summer, Sunapee is filled with an established resident base, as well as second home owners or renters vacationing at Lake Sunapee or nearby bodies of water. But Puchtler said he can’t recall a recent drowning in the area.

“Having a child, all it takes is just a second to lose track of her,” Puchtler said. “Our hope is that people really take some diligence in watching their kids and knowing it just takes a brief second for a tragedy like this to happen.”

Many neighbors on Mary’s Road hadn’t heard about the drowning Monday afternoon, including Carl Nosenzo, who lives two doors down and had just come back from Cape Cod. Nosenzo and his family have lived on the pond year-round since 2000 and said the pond is fairly shallow; he estimated that it’s only 10 feet deep.

The neighborhood is so quiet that leaves could be heard rustling from the trees. The only sounds that could be heard Monday were distant shouts from children playing in the pond.

But this time of year, there’s a lot of kids on the pond, Nosenzo said.

“It’s a shame,” Nosenzo said after hearing about the drowning. “You count your blessings.”

This is the second drowning in the Upper Valley this summer. Ernest Amoh, a 20-year-old college student from Ghana, drowned in the Connecticut River in June when he took a canoe to Patchen’s Point in Norwich and jumped from a rope swing. Amoh couldn’t swim and his body never fully resurfaced. He had just finished his freshman year at Trinity University in Texas and was visiting his brother for his graduation from Dartmouth College.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.