A baby girl just 10 days shy of her first birthday drowned Saturday evening after falling into a bucket of water at her family’s Creston home.
Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said Mariella Dalimata accidentally tipped headfirst into a five-gallon bucket that was being used for mopping.
The incident was reported at about 10 p.m.
While the body was sent to the state Crime Lab in Missoula, Curry said what happened “is consistent with an accidental death.”
Brook Schwab, the girl’s aunt, said the girl’s parents, Kayla and Mark Dalimata, and the rest of the family are devastated.
“We were planning to have a birthday party. We weren’t planning to have funeral expenses,” said Schwab, who is helping to organize a fundraising effort to pay for the funeral.
Schwab said Kayla Dalimata wanted to communicate to all parents with young children “to be aware of just how quick drowning can happen” and that children shouldn’t be left alone around water, even momentarily.
Mariella was left unattended “for not even four minutes,” Schwab said.
A memorial fund will be managed through St. Matthew’s Catholic Parish, the family’s longtime church.
Those interested in contributing can also go to an online memorial that can be found at: www.gofundme.com/ci2eug