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.

Comments (23)
  1. Willow says:

    At least the autopsy has proven that this young lady did indeed drown and was in the pool for two days. Any speculation before the autopsy results was just that..speculation.

    People are so upset about swimming with a dead body present, but none of them questioned why the water was so cloudy in the first place?

  2. ci64 says:

    What is wrong with all the inspectors for the state? First, the escalator in Auburn and now the swimming pools! R the inspectors doing their jobs – or just fudging their reports – HEADS SHOULD ROLL AT THE DCR!!!

  3. ci64 says:

    What is wrong with all the inspectors for the state? First, the escalator in Auburn and now the swimming pools! R the inspectors doing their jobs – or just fudging their reports

    1. chfkr0 says:

      you already said that..

  4. Debbie says:

    I feel bad for the woman that drowned at the pool. I feel worst for everyone that was in the water during the time she was under. is the DCR doing blood born test on everyone that was in that water. what if she had some kind of sickness or just from her body being in the water for so long.. I hope everyone that was in that water gets test and since the dcr did not do their job they should pick up the cost of all of this. just think. eyes open. open cut.and swallowing that water what is in that water. lets not let the dcr hide this mess

    1. shotime says:

      My thoughts exactly! I can’t help but think there must be some health risks associated with a dead body in the pool for that length of time. Just the thought of someone swimming next to that poor woman’s body makes me cringe!!!

  5. Michael says:

    Are they sure she died in the pool and was not placed there later. How does a mother of 5 disappear from days without anyone knowing where she was going. The story is fishy or some people are really stupid for this to happen.

  6. emom says:

    Incredible, and how do you wanna bet that nobody in charge of the pool will loose their job.. INSPECTORS really look at how many recalls we have in this country. Never mind in this state, We have far to few inspectors to do anything in this state . we really need more But none will be hired.

    1. Deb says:

      I bet no one will loose their job, it will be typical Massachusetts and sweep under the rug,,,,,,look what we are adoing with Bulger, flying him all over the place as if he is a rock star……he should be treated no different that anyone else. If they are afraid someone might get him in some way, put a bullet proof vest on him like to do the others-The state protects an alleged killer more than they do a regular normal good citizen……..

  7. buildmeister says:

    Just more state workers collecting a paycheck for what they think is a cozy job. When this sort of laziness happens, whether it’s this or the escalator fiasco, it astonished me that so many people trust government regulation to save them from from life’s perils.

  8. Deb says:

    This is a tragic accident and she would have lived if the proper people were doing their jobs and paying attention to the swimmers in the water and the little 9 year old boy who reported a problem…….But do to laziness, ineffective management and poor maintenance this has snow-balled into a lost of an important person who is now dead. I would be so sad and and angry about this if I were the family. The town should shut down all the pools if they cannot find the proper managers and responsible upper management that will also supervise-The ones behind the desks are to blame as well if not more

  9. chfkr0 says:

    Umm..why exactly would anyone swim in a pool if you COULDN’T SEE THE BOTTOM!!?!? Only in Fall River…

  10. emom says:

    First of all, alll public pools should have a LIMIT on how many are allowed in them. If so then there would be no problem with people getting hurt or missing. most of these pools are so over crowded, there is no space tro swim or play.. ITS WALL TO WALL PEOPLE……. I know some are free or dont cost much, which is great, BUT having a limit is very important… I personally will never let my child into one of these pools. To much risk…… And there are some that think of it as there personal bath tube or toilet.. It was out of balance of chemicals … someone has no idea on how to work that pool…

  11. rcc says:

    You people need to learn English. *lose their job, not loose their job, *due to laziness, not do to laziness, *bath tub, not bath tube, *too much risk, not to much risk.

  12. Michelle Morgan says:


  13. nic says:

    the lifeguards and pool manager should be charged for criminal negligence if it is proven that two lifeguards were told by the 9 yr old boy and the pool should have been closed because of the poor water conditions. both factors contributed to the death of this woman.

    which lifeguard was on duty to watch and clear ALL who went down the slide in the deep end of the pool anyway?

  14. Cynic says:

    We’ll never know for sure if the boy REALLY told a lifeguard at the time or only when the police showed up and asked what happened.
    It is possible he is lying.

    1. CDM says:

      Why is it everybody questions the little boy’s motives? Or that it HAD to be a foul-play coverup? The pool was disgusting, the staff inept. That’s the simplest and most likely answer

  15. LiSa says:

    The 9 yr old boy is the most to blame! He walked himself home, put himself to bed knowing that he was alone and without a babysitter. Why didn’t he try harder to notify lifeguards, call his mother, etc. He obviously knew there was something very wrong when he couldn’t find his babysitter to leave the pool at the end of the day.

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