FALL RIVER (CBS) – New water clarity tests and autopsy results are backing up the belief that a Fall River woman who drowned in a public pool, was in fact there for more than two days before anyone noticed.
The Bristol County DA said Friday that visibility in the pool was extremely poor. “Visibility tests conducted with a police diver on Wednesday, June 29th, revealed that a submerged diver could not be seen at a depth of three-and-a-half to four feet below the surface of the water at the pool’s deep end,” the DA’s office said in a statement.
On Friday night, friends and family of 36-year-old Marie Joseph gathered near the pool to remember her.
All of them echoed the same chorus of disbelief, wondering how it could have happened.
“She should be alive today. If they were doing their jobs, she shouldn’t be dead today,” Lisa Durden said.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Smith reports
It was a day earlier, on Thursday, Fall River’s mayor revealed “that health inspectors from the City visited the pool on Monday and on Tuesday and inspected the facilities,” which was during the time that Joseph’s body was in the water. They noted in their report that the water was “cloudy.”
Investigators now say the water in the pool was murky and cloudy from the time the pool opened for the season last Saturday.
Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard K. Sullivan Jr. spoke with WBZ-TV Friday afternoon. Secretary Sullivan says guards are trained to look for the drain and lines at the bottom of the pool. “If they are not visible, the pool should be closed,” he said.
Sullivan points out that the lifeguards do not have the authority to close the pool. They can report their findings to the pool manager, and it’s up to the pool manager to decide on closing a pool. “This is the primary focus of the investigation,” said Sullivan.
Investigators also said Friday that an autopsy confirms that Joseph died on Sunday afternoon from accidental drowning and her body remained at the bottom of the pool until Tuesday evening before floating to the surface.
As of right now, no charges have been filed. The Bristol DA’s Office, along with the Fall River Police Department and Massachusetts State Police will continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding Joseph’s death along with the delay in discovering her body.
The DCR has opened 11 pools that were closed in the wake of Joseph’s death. Officials say extensive reviews were done on all of the pools.