Accidental drowning ruled cause of former Rock Bridge soccer player's death

Friday, January 18, 2013 | 5:55 a.m. CST; updated 6:51 a.m. CST, Friday, January 18, 2013
Arianna Alioto, an 18-year-old freshman and varsity women's soccer player at Northern Michigan University, died Nov. 30.

MARQUETTE, Mich. — Accidental drowning was the cause of death of former Rock Bridge soccer player Arianna Alioto who was found unresponsive in a campus pool at Northern Michigan University, according to an autopsy finding released by the school Friday.

Northern Michigan released the results of the Marquette County medical examiner's report related to the Nov. 30 death of Alioto, who had become a midfielder for the Wildcats.

Alioto, 18, was found alone in the Physical Education Instructional Facility pool after a team workout. A lifeguard had left when the workout ended.

"The autopsy report did confirm what we stated earlier, that there was no physical trauma to the body," public safety director Mike Bath said in a statement. "However, it did not have any other conclusive findings related to the incident other than that Ms. Alioto's death was due to drowning and the nature of the incident was accidental."

Bath said the police report is now considered completed.

"Information gathered through the investigation interviews lead us to believe that Ms. Alioto never left the pool and most likely drowned between 4:45 and 5 p.m.," he said.

A student exercising in an area overlooking the pool reported seeing Alioto in the water around 5:35 p.m.

After unsuccessful life-saving attempts by staff members and emergency personnel, Alioto was taken to Marquette General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police have said they interviewed anyone in a position to see what might have happened, including soccer team members, the coach, the lifeguard and rescuers. The interviews confirmed that no one saw or heard anyone in distress during or after practice, Bath said.

In its statement Friday, the university said the police report states Alioto's teammates were looking for her throughout the complex, hoping to leave together, when emergency personnel arrived, responding to a 911 call placed by the facility's employees.

Alioto, a 5-foot-3 midfielder, redshirted this past fall while recovering from a knee injury.


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