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Braylen Noble autopsy rules manner of death 'undetermined' with 'submersion in water' as contributing cause

The manner of death ruling is based on circumstances and nothing conclusive found at autopsy. The 3-year-old boy who had autism was missing and found in September.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Six months and a little over a week after Braylen Noble's body was found in a swimming pool in Toledo, the manner of death was ruled "undetermined" by the Lucas County Coroner's Office.

A contributing cause to 3-year-old Braylen's death was submersion in water, with the ruling of the manner of death reflecting the circumstances of his death and that nothing conclusive was found at autopsy, according to a statement by deputy coroner Dr. Cynthia Beisser.

The statement said:

"The death of 3-year-old Braylen Noble has been ruled as 'No anatomic or toxicologic cause of death' with the contributing cause 'Submersion in water.' The manner of death is undetermined. This ruling reflects the circumstances of the death and also that nothing conclusive was found at the autopsy. Death was pronounced on 9/9/20 at 1:20 pm. at 3415 Gibraltar Heights Dr., Toledo."

On Thursday, Dr. Robert Forney with the Lucas County Coroner's Office said the toxicology itself didn’t take very long because nothing was found in Braylen’s system besides ethanol, which is common in bodies that have been deceased for some time. Braylen was also tested for all kinds of common drugs and the coroner's office found nothing.

The autopsy findings show that Braylen appeared to be a well-developed, 3-foot 5-inch tall 3-year-old boy who was found wearing a black T-shirt and a diaper, and he had pierced ears with a stud in his right ear.  

The report says there was no physical evidence of trauma seen, including no skull fractures or hemorrhaging in the eyes. There was evidence of brain swelling and water in both lungs, and his left ventricle was dilated.

He appeared to be a healthily-nourished 3-year-old boy and he ate pineapple chunks as one of his last meals.  

Initial details on the autopsy of Braylen released Sept. 10 by the coroner's office also found no obvious signs of trauma on his body and said drowning had not yet been ruled out as a cause of death at the time.

RELATED: Coroner releases early notes in the death of Braylen Noble, 3, who was found in an apartment pool

The Toledo Police Department launched an investigation into the death of Braylen Noble on Sept. 9 after the 3-year-old's body was found in his apartment complex swimming pool in east Toledo. 

The child, who was nonverbal and had autism, was reported missing Sept. 4 from the 3400 block of Gibraltar Heights Drive at Hunter's Ridge Apartments. His disappearance triggered a massive search by private search groups, law enforcement and the FBI.

A spokesperson for the Toledo Police Department previously said detectives can't charge someone with murder if a coroner doesn't rule a death a homicide.


Braylen's mother, Dajnae Cox, had told WTOL 11 that Braylen was last seen in his bedroom. She was on the back balcony and her mother, Braylen's grandmother, Bobbie, was in the living room.

There was a window open, so the assumption was he had fallen out the window because the screen was pushed in, although neither woman saw him actually fall.

For a complete timeline of events, click here.

Jeffrey Holloway, Braylen's grandfather, told WTOL 11 off-camera that he's growing uncomfortable because he wants answers too. Requests for an interview with him or his family went unanswered. 

The property manager of Hunter's Ridge Apartments said they'll be getting surveillance cameras placed all throughout the property for security purposes, hopefully by this summer. The Braylen Noble death investigation was partly the reason why they decided to invest in the cameras.


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