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Officials: Brewster Woman Found Dead

Cause of death is not yet known.

[Updated, 8:40 p.m., Aug. 7] Brewster resident Donna Chambers is going to miss the company, generosity and kindness of her neighbor.

Chambers' apartment at 34 Putnam Avenue in Brewster is a floor below that of Pamela Kaner's. She's the 59-year-old woman whose body responders recovered in Carmel's Lake Gleneida Monday evening.

At times, Chambers choked back sobs as she spoke about Kaner Tuesday evening. After a little more than a year of friendship, Chambers described her pal, who often used a cane, as a "neat freak" who was "always on the go" and "always looking to help."

"She checked on me everyday when I had knee surgery," she said, wiping away tears as she sat on the bench in the apartment building's lobby. "She kept me up, I kept her up. I will truly, truly miss that girl."

The two had lots in common, including their love for animals. Chambers called Kaner's dog, Colby—a big, black rescue lab—her friend's "most prized possession." Kaner did not have children.

Another pastime of Kaner's was giving to others. She was always passing along jewelery and accessories to Chambers' daughters, who trusted Kaner and only Kaner with their dog when they traveled.

When she heard the news of Kaner's death, Chambers was "devastated."

"My knees started to shake, I couldn't believe my ears," Chambers told Patch, adding that she had not yet heard of any services, or spoken with any family members. "... I have to know what happened to my friend." 

At the time of this post, had yet to announce details of any services for Kaner. 

[Updated, 3:45 p.m. Aug. 7] The little girl found holding onto Kaner's lifeless body in Lake Gleneida Monday evening was physically OK, but mentally "traumatized" following the tragedy.

That's according to Chief Mike Johnson of the Carmel Police Department. The youngster was transferred to Putnam Hospital Center by ambulance, he said, but she did not require treatment. 

Putnam County Coroner Hari P. Chakravorty reportedly conducted an autopsy there Tuesday morning on Kaner, whose body responders recovered a short time after receiving the 911 call. Patch's attempts to reach Chakravorty at home and work Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

The little girl's mother reportedly left her daughter in the care of Kaner, a friend, while she ran an errand. Johnson told Patch Tuesday afternoon that the little girl and her mother, whose names he would not release, live in Putnam. He did not have specifics on their town of residence.

Johnson did not comment on the results of the autopsy, adding that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has taken the lead on the investigation. A spokesperson for the DEP was unavailable for comment by phone around 3:40 p.m. Tuesday.

Spokesman Corey Chambliss followed up by email, stating that DEP has "no additional comment on this time." 

Johnson declined to comment on whether the incident looked to be accidental, or whether foul play was involved. To his knowledge, the only witnesses were those in the row boat—reportedly strangers who happened upon the scene.

[Original story, posted 11:55 a.m. Aug. 7] A Brewster woman is dead following a tragedy Monday evening that involved the rescue of a 6-year-old girl from Lake Gleneida in Carmel, officials say.

DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland said in a statement that the investigation indicates that "a 6-year-old child was wading/swimming with a 59-year-old woman" in the lake, where swimming is prohibited. Police have identified that woman as Pamela Kaner, 59. 

"Two men and a woman in a row boat observed a child holding onto a body in the middle of the lake crying for help," Strickland said. "The child was not wearing a life vest. The boaters placed a life vest on the child and brought her to shore where they notified the Carmel Police."

The girl was not injured, police said. Kaner was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of death is not yet known, according to officials.

Police received word of the incident around 5:15 p.m. By 8 p.m., responders—including members of the DEP Police, Carmel Police, New York State Police, , Carmel Fire Department, Carmel Volunteer Ambulance and the Mahopac Falls Volunteer Fire Department dive team—had cleared the area.

“We are saddened by the tragedy that occurred last night on Lake Gleneida, and are working with Carmel Police to determine what happened," Strickland said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.”

Officials were unable to provide an address for Kaner Tuesday morning. She's listed as an Oak Street resident. No one answered the door at the multi-family home Tuuesday afternoon. Folks who live in that area told Patch they had not heard of anyone by that name. 

Editor's note: Police were unable to provide an address for Kaner, but other new agencies reported that she lived on Putnam Avenue. Chambers confirmed that.

Ashley Tarr (Editor) August 07, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Here's some additional information—Johnson could not recall the last drowning in Lake Gleneida, but estimated that it was likely within the last few years. He also said that the row boat that the folks were in was a small one, not designed for more than three adults.
Ashley Tarr (Editor) August 08, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Chambers also told Patch that she believed Kaner knew how to swim, as she enjoyed sitting by the lake with her dog. She also said she seemed to become "fast friends" with the little girl's mother, but did not know how the two met.
k August 13, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Has colby been rescued and rehomed? The poor lab must be devastated. They bond to their new owners. I am concerned about who is caring for him.

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