Electricity ruled out as factor in pool drowning deaths of 3 in NJ

Authorities in New Jersey identified three family members who were found unresponsive in a backyard above-ground swimming pool.

East Brunswick police responded to the home on Clearview Road on Monday afternoon after neighbors called for help.

Police officers found Bharat Patel, 62, his daughter-in-law Nisha Patel, 32, and her 8-year-old daughter unresponsive in the pool. Officers performed CPR but all three were pronounced dead at the scene, Lt. Frank Sutter told reporters.

Police said the original call came in as a fall after a neighbor heard screaming. Officers say they believe the mother was screaming. It was unclear if she was in the pool at the time or went in after that.

Middlesex County prosecutors and police said Wednesday that electricity played no part in their deaths. They 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."

Neighbors said the family had recently moved into the home. Zillow showed that the property had been sold in April.

"This is a devastating day for our entire community. It is too early to determine exactly what happened," Police Chief Frank Losacco said in a statement.

The county medical examiner determined all three died of accidental drowning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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