Civil suit filed in toddler drowning

By Jonathan Delozier -

A civil lawsuit has been filed stemming from the 2016 drowning death of a toddler in Pittsfield Township.

The suit was filed by the estate of 22-month-old Annie Flynn and seeks at least $25,000 plus punitive damages, citing funeral and burial costs, Annie’s suffering and loss of life, and the family’s anguish.

It names Elizabeth Zenda, David Zenda, Edgar Rowe, Marietta Rowe, as well as other individuals and entities identified as “John Doe.”

Elizabeth Zenda was convicted June 22 on criminal counts of involuntary manslaughter and child endangering. She was sentenced July 26 to four years in jail and five years of probation. David Zenda is her husband.

The Zendas’ home on West Road was used as a day care for six years. Annie and 21-month-old Jaxon Flynn, cousins, had been going there for a little more than one year.

Both were found submerged in Elizabeth Zenda’s backyard pool at 10:21 a.m. on Oct. 5, 2016. Annie was pronounced dead at Mercy Health Allen Hospital in Oberlin while Jaxon was revived by rescuers but suffered brain damage.

Investigators concluded that Elizabeth Zenda left the toddlers in her backyard unsupervised and improperly secured the pool, allowing the children to slip through a seven-inch gap below its gate.

Edgar and Marietta Rowe own the West Road property and pool.

Those identified as John Doe are suspected to also be property owners but have not been identified by the Flynn estate, according to court documents.

Tanya Zenda, Elizabeth’s daughter-in-law, was charged in August with misdemeanor child endangering. According to testimony, she was present in the West Road home at the time of the drowning.

That case is being handled by the Oberlin Municipal Court with an Oct. 31 pretrial date before a Nov. 5 trial.

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier