EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Authorities on June 23 identified three family members who died in their backyard swimming pool.
Sixty-two-year-old Bharat Patel, his 33-year old daughter-in-law Nisha Patel and her 8-year-old daughter were found unresponsive in the above-ground pool June 22 afternoon by East Brunswick police responding to a 911 call from neighbors who heard screams.
Police Lt. Frank Sutter told reporters police performed CPR when they arrived, but all three victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
On June 23, the Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office said it had concluded the deaths were by accidental drowning.
Neighbors said the family had recently moved into the home.
“This is a devastating day for our entire community,” Police Chief Frank Losacco said in a statement.
India-West Staff Reporter adds: An electrician’s truck was spotted June 22 helping investigators at the East Brunswick house shortly after the discovery of three bodies in the pool, including an 8-year-old girl, her mother and an elderly male relative, the New York Post reported.
“It’s going around that they were electrocuted,” the family’s next-door neighbor, who asked not to be named, told The Post as at least a dozen people arrived to comfort the grieving family.
“I understand that they just had the pool worked on,” she added.
East Brunswick Police spokesman confirmed to CNN that an electrician had been called to help the investigation.
“That’s just to rule in or rule out the possibility of electrical currents,” he told the network. “The investigation is still active and we’re waiting for the autopsies.”
According to mycentraljersey.com, a GoFundMe.com page has been set up to raise at least $50,000 to pay for the funerals of the three members of the family who tragically died in the swimming pool accident.
The fund, called Help Akash’s Family Heal, was created June 24 by Sarah Grabowski on behalf of Nirav Patel, the girl’s father.
On June 24, authorities say electricity didn't play a role in the drowning deaths of the three family members.
Middlesex County prosecutors and police said that while the above-ground pool was mostly shallow at 3 1/2 feet deep, a portion of the pool was 7 feet deep and “It doesn't appear that the victims knew how to swim.”
The county's regional medical examiner determined the cause of death to be drowning and ruled the manner of death as accidental for all three victims. The investigation is continuing, and anyone with information is asked to call police or prosecutors.