updated 1/2/2011 10:48:48 AM ET 2011-01-02T15:48:48

Authorities say a 4-year-old boy apparently fell into a partially frozen liquid manure pit on his family's farm in central Pennsylvania and drowned.

Police say Josiah Martin was playing with two siblings and a neighbor child Saturday morning on the farm just outside New Holland when he wandered off. He was later found face-down in the 8-foot-deep pit and pronounced dead at the scene.

Officer Troy Deshong says it's unclear how the boy got into the pit. It's surrounded by a chain-link fence and 42 feet in diameter. He tells the (Lancaster) Sunday News that the boy's mother said he might have been trying to retrieve a dog.

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