July 2, 2011 in Nation/World

‘Murky’ water veiled body in public swimming pool

Mom of 5 floats to surface two days later
Associated Press
 

FALL RIVER, Mass. – A preliminary investigation shows “murky and cloudy” water in a public swimming pool helped conceal the body of a drowned woman for two days while people swam there, authorities said Friday.

The Bristol County district attorney’s office said the body of Marie Joseph was submerged at the bottom of the 12-foot-deep end of the pool from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday evening.

Joseph, 36, was a hotel housekeeper in Newport, R.I. She was from Haiti and had five children. Her body was discovered after it floated to the surface shortly before some youngsters sneaked into the pool for a clandestine swim Tuesday night.

The medical examiner’s office has determined the manner of her death to be accidental and the cause to be asphyxiation by drowning.

The probe shows the water in the Fall River pool was murky from the time the pool opened for the season last Saturday. Visibility tests conducted Wednesday revealed a diver couldn’t be seen at a depth of 3 1/2 to 4 feet below the surface of the water.

“Although this office is releasing this preliminary information regarding the case today, the investigation into the death, the circumstances surrounding it and the delay in discovering the body is ongoing,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement.

State Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Edward Lambert said the preliminary findings “are deeply disturbing.”

The agency will immediately begin investigating issues related to Joseph’s death, including clarity of the pool water and whether water quality protocols were followed, Lambert said.

The death at Veterans Memorial Pool surprised and troubled swimmers, residents and public officials.

Lambert’s agency, which runs the pool, immediately closed all 30 deep-water swimming pools and began reviewing safety and operational procedures.

Lambert said that 11 pools reopened Friday after safety inspectors found they met all safety guidelines and their staffs are well-trained. Additional pools will reopen once their reviews are complete.

But the Fall River pool will not reopen anytime soon because its entire staff has been suspended. City officials also have said that they will not issue a permit to reopen until state officials assure them that swimmers will be safe there.

© Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus