Toddler drowns in bucket

Family members said 19-month-old Jeriah Borkholder was trying to reach a toothbrush at the bottom of a mop bucket, when he fell in head first and drowned Tuesday night.

The boy's mother, Erma had been cleaning earlier that day, and left the bucket outside their home on 4 C Road in Bremen.

Jeriah’s Uncle Delbert Troyer said, “She was cleaning the house and she set it out, I believe she set it outside the door.”

Troyer said his sister usually dump out the water right away, but did not notice the bucket was still full. “She says she doesn’t know how often she walked passed that bucket and didn’t see it,” Troyer said.

Both parents, Erma and Marvin Borkholder thought their youngest child was inside with his five older siblings while they did some house work.

Just after 9 o’clock Tuesday night family members found the boy upside down in the 5 gallon bucket in front of their house. When the Bremen EMS crew got to the home, they performed CPR but it was too late, the child pronounced dead at the hospital.

“It was just an accident,” Troyer said.

The family said Jeriah opened the front door by himself, something they did not think he could do… and he was left unattended outside.

“We make sure she doesn’t try anything,” Toireasa Shutz lives just down the street from the Borkholders.

Shutz said she watches her 1-year-old daughter like a hawk around any type of water.

According to the Centers for Disease Control drowning is the leading cause of injury death in children 1-4 years old. On average, three kids die every day as a result of drowning... Most of those deaths occur in a body of water like a pool or lake, not a bucket.

“It’s sad,” Shultz says, “I wouldn’t know what that felt like to experience the loss of a child so young.”

Some people in the community expressed anger over the child’s death, but the Marshall County Coroner said this was just a tragic and freak accident.

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