Police Say N.J. Mother and Grandfather Died While Trying to Save Girl from Drowning
Police say the New Jersey mother and grandfather who drowned alongside an 8-year-old were trying to save the young girl after she fell into a backyard pool, according to multiple reports.
After the child entered the water, her mother Nisha Patel, 33, and paternal grandfather Bharat Patel, 62, jumped in after her in an attempted rescue on June 22, WCBS reported, citing authorities.
The adults did not know how to swim, and did not realize just how deep the pool was, East Brunswick Police Lt. Frank Sutter told NJ.com.
The above-ground pool at the home in East Brunswick was mostly shallow at 3½ feet deep, but there was a portion that dipped down 7 feet, according to a joint statement from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the East Brunswick Police Department.
An aunt was outside when the drownings occurred, though the sequence of events remains unclear, Sutter, who did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, told NJ.com.
“It was just a very tragic accident,” he said.
Their deaths were ruled accidental, and drowning was listed as the cause of death, according to the prosecutor’s office and the police department.
Authorities previously said that the three victims were found unresponsive in the pool, and were pronounced dead shortly after.
A medical examiner ruled out any suggestion that electricity played a role, WCBS reported.
The family bought the home in April, and real estate listings show that the pool was already installed upon purchase, according to NJ.com.
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