UPDATES on the 3 New Jersey family members found dead in their home pool are at the bottom of this post. To get the full story, continue reading.
An 8-year-old girl was found dead in her backyard swimming pool along with her mother and grandfather in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Their bodies were discovered in the pool Monday and officials are still investigating their cause of death.
According to police, the family had moved into the home just 20 days prior.
“This is a devastating day for our entire community and we are working to determine exactly what happened,” said East Brunswick Police Chief Frank LoSacco.
Police Lt. Frank Sutter told CNN that a neighbor called police Monday afternoon when they heard screaming coming from the property. Police believe that the screaming may have been the mother calling for help.
When officers arrived at the house, they discovered an 8-year-old girl, a 32-year-old woman, and a 62-year-old man unresponsive in an above-ground pool. The officers performed CPR on the three victims, but they were later pronounced dead in the backyard.
Investigating the Mysterious Tragedy
“It’s going around that they were electrocuted,” the family’s next-door neighbor, who asked not to be named, told The New York Post Tuesday. They added that the family had just had the pool worked on and were excited to use it.
Sutter confirmed that an electrician was on scene Monday.
“That’s just to rule in or rule out the possibility of electrical currents,” he said. “The investigation is still active and we’re waiting for the autopsies.”
“The fact that they had an electrician’s truck show up shortly thereafter — I mean, it wouldn’t make sense that three people just drowned right away like that, with an adult there, too,” neighbor Phil Peterson told CBS News.
The three victims have been identified as Bharat Patel, 62, his 33-year old daughter-in-law, Nisha Patel, and her 8-year-old daughter. As stated above, authorities were investigating whether or not the three had been electrocuted in the pool, but that has been ruled out.
On Tuesday, the Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that the deaths were by accidental drowning.
Neighbors reportedly heard screaming from the backyard Monday, which prompted calls to the police. Police spokesman Frank Sutter said at a press conference, “We believe the mother was screaming from inside the pool [area] for help.”
“The above-ground pool was mostly shallow at 3 1/2 feet deep, but there was a portion of the pool that was 7 feet deep,” a joint statement from the prosecutor’s office and police said. “It doesn’t appear that the victims knew how to swim.”
3 Found Dead in Pool — Sources
WNBC — ‘Devastating:’ Child, 8, Among Three Family Members Found Drowned in Pool at NJ Home
CNN — An 8-year-old girl, her mother and her grandfather were found dead in the swimming pool of a house they had just moved into
New York Post
UPDATE — ABC News
Statement from police and prosecutor’s office