updated 1/3/2009 10:32:49 PM ET 2009-01-04T03:32:49

New Jersey authorities say a woman drowned trying to retrieve her grandson's dog from a frozen pond.

Authorities say 61-year-old Janet Howard was walking a German Shepherd named Apollo on Saturday when it wandered onto the ice covering Plainsboro Pond. Police speculate that Howard went after the dog but the ice broke, plunging her and the animal into the water about 25 feet from shore.

A passer-by on a bicycle heard Howard's cries and tried to help her, but he also fell through the ice.

He fought his way back to shore and raced home to call 911. Rescue workers later found Howard about 4 1/2 feet beneath the surface. She was taken to Princeton Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

The dog somehow reached the shore and ran home.

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