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BOY DIED FROM DROWNING, NOT FOUL PLAY, EXAM SHOWS.

Byline: - Ryan Oliver

A 7-year-old boy found dead in the bottom of a Holmby Hills pool was the victim of an accidental drowning and not foul play as Los Angeles police initially believed, a county medical examiner announced Wednesday.

Los Angeles Police Department investigators had looked at the pool since Paolo Ayala disappeared Sunday during a weekend birthday party, but said a silty layer of sediment concealed the body.

``We have canceled out every other possible cause of death,'' said Los Angeles County Medical Examiner James Ribe. ``The autopsy showed no sign of trauma to any part of the body.''

Los Angeles police never sent divers into the pool, which measures 9 feet at its deepest end, nor did it dredge the bottom.

Deputy Chief Dave Kalish declined to label that as a mistake.

``Obviously we learned from this situation not to rely on what you think you see,'' he said. ``This has been an anguishing case for us.''

Paolo was last seen playing in the pool, where a maid discovered his body Tuesday.

Because officers, firefighters and other people at the home had not seen the body earlier, Kalish initially told reporters that he believed someone had dumped the body in the pool, and the case was being treated as a homicide.

But Ribe told a news conference the boy died from drowning and that the body showed no signs of having ever been assaulted or moved.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 6, 2002
Words:238
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