Sophia Baechler's carbon monoxide death linked to hole in boat exhaust

The Hennepin County sheriff’s office has released new information on what may have caused the carbon monoxide poisoning of 7-year-old Sophia Baechler during a Lake Minnetonka boat ride. The sheriff’s office said Friday it appears an animal chewed a hole through an exhaust pipe under the cabin of the boat.

While the boat was out on Wayzata Bay, Sophia went down to the cabin to rest and was found in distress about 10 minutes later. Occupants of the boat were giving Sophia CPR when Wayzata police arrived at the dock. The young girl was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center without a pulse, and she was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Sophia Baechler was a second grader at Concord Elementary School in Edina. A memorial scholarship fund for Concord Elementary and Sophia's favorite YMCA camp, Camp Kici Yapi, has been established. You can donate at

Funeral services were held Friday morning.

Remembering Sophia

“She loved playing with her friends, being with family, playing soccer, drawing, singing and dancing to music. She loved to go to the parks and ride her new "big girl" bike. Sophia loved nature and learning about rocks with her Grandpa. She often went to the zoo with her grandmother and brother. She loved seeing the penguins, monkeys and the butterfly exhibit in the summer. She loved being silly, dancing and snuggling at night. She loved roasting marshmallows by the fire. She loved helping her Dad in the yard and going for bike rides with her Mom. Sophia was love. She had overflowing kindness and care for others. She was always eager to make a new friend and loved the friends she had deeply. Sophia brought out the best in all those around her from young to old.”


Carbon monoxide and boating safety

- Have a certified marine mechanic inspected your boat annually for exhaust leaks and other problems

- Install a carbon-monoxide alarm on your boat and replace batteries annually

- Inspect exhaust systems on a regular basis

Source: Hennepin County sheriff’s office