SAN JOSE, Calif. - A mother and daughter who own and operated a San Jose day care where two young children drowned to death have been arrested and charged.
Nina Fathizadeh, 31, and Shahin Gheblehshenas, 64, were charged with felony child endangerment resulting in death and criminal negligence, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said on Friday.
Fathizadeh and her mother Gheblehshenas are the owners and operators of home-based Happy Happy Daycare, located on the 1000 block of Fleetwood Drive.
Two girls drowned in the backyard pool on Oct. 2 and a third child was injured after being recovered from the water, prosecutors said.
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Authorities allege that the children were left unattended when they fell or jumped into the pool. A gate had been propped open, enabling the toddlers to get into pool, according to prosecutors.
"There is a responsibility to watch over little children in your care like a hawk," District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. "Now it is our responsibility to make sure that these defendants are held accountable for this avoidable and heart-breaking tragedy."
Suspect Nina Fathizadeh
Fathizadeh discovered one of the children, a 2-year-old, floating and unconscious in the pool. The two other children, little girls aged 16 and 18 months, were found floating in the deep end. They were later pronounced dead.
Gheblehshenas was at another day care when the drowning occurred. The kids were supposed to be under her daughter's supervision.
San Jose police said that four children were at Happy Happy Daycare that day and another child was on the way. One daycare worker had called in sick, so the children were being watched by only one person.
While making breakfast, Fathizadeh left one child in a crib and let three of the children into the rear patio play area unsupervised and out of her sight, prosecutors allege.
The play area is set up in the backyard adjacent to a pool surrounded by a five-foot fence. But the gate had been left ajar, so someone could water plants, authorities claim.
One neighbor said he was shocked at what occurred.
"It's horrific. It's terrible. I don't think any parent would want to have to deal with that or live through that," the man said.
State officials have suspended the day care's license.
The suspects were booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail and later released on bond.
KTVU's Jesse Gary contributed to this report.