Fall River, Mass. – This story is quickly going viral, so I figured what the hell, it’s more interesting than the Walmart hammer attack I was about to post. Police are saying that the woman pulled from a public swimming pool on Tuesday likely drowned on Sunday and remained floating in the pool for almost three days without anyone noticing.
Marie Joseph, 36, went to the Vietnam Veterans’ Pool at Lafayette Park with another family on Sunday and helped escort a 9-year-old on a slide that dumps its occupants into the deep end of the pool. The boy says after he hit the water, Joseph came down the slide unexpectedly and landed on him. He never saw her come out of the water.
The boy told lifeguards, but they allegedly ignored him. Joseph’s family realized she was missing when she never returned home and became increasingly worried after pool personnel returned some clothing, a cell phone and a Massachusetts identification card they had found at the pool after closing on Sunday evening.
The pool was open for business Monday and Tuesday, packed with swimmers beating the heat who never noticed or saw poor Joseph’s body floating in the water. It wasn’t until after closing on Tuesday that some kids who broke into the pool for a late night swim, discovered her body.
Of course some are outraged claiming that the employees of the pool obviously did not do their jobs, while others have concocted asinine theories that have Joseph leaving that pool that day without her belongings, only to return after hours and commit suicide.
But it really isn’t hard to see how this happened, and how the employees of the pool would be a direct result of it. The pool was featured in a newspaper article with some photos of the pool during the day Joseph would have been floating around in it. More interesting than the photo showing a kid drinking water from were a dead woman was stewing, is the fact that the water looks really, really cloudy.
Reportedly Joseph couldn’t swim. Had she fallen down the slide after sending the 9-year-old on his way, then went under that cloudy water to reside at the bottom of the deep end, 12-feet below the slide, it is totally plausible she remained there the entire time — especially since some who were there that day (read their comments) say that none of the pool personnel performed the pool checks correctly or even investigated the boy’s initial claims.
According to the reports I found in Google after 2 minutes of looking, unless an adult is dead when they hit the water, they will sink and will not float until some time later — all based on a myriad of conditions. But for an adult who drowned in water that is around 80 degrees or warmer, they will float within one to two days. As crazy as it all sounds, it really isn’t that crazy of a scenario.
Police are still continuing their investigations, but are calling it an unattended death. The state DCR issued a statement saying, “We express our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Marie Joseph. All 30 of DCR’s deepwater pools are closed while we conduct a full review.” The pool’s staff has been placed on leave.
Fall River Mayor William Flanagan said he’s asking the State Office of Environmental Health to conduct a health risk assessment for anyone who swam in the pool between Sunday and Tuesday. He’s also placed some people on administrative leave himself. “It has come to my attention that health inspectors from the city visited the pool on Monday and on Tuesday and inspected the facilities. I have immediately placed these inspectors on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.” Ruh- roh.
Well it looks like this story was exactly what it looked like to begin with, and pretty much exactly like the scenario I described. The medical examiner has determined that Joseph died from drowning and had resided at the bottom of the pool for the entire two days before floating to the top. Investigators are saying murky water played a role in how this happened, revealing a diver was not visible in the water at a depth of 3 1/3 to 4 feet.
Eleven pools in the area have been re-opened after safety inspectors found they met all safety guidelines and their staffs well-trained. The others will follow suit after their reviews are complete. The pool Joseph drowned in will not, as the entire staff was suspended.