BROCKTON — The above-ground pool where a 2-year-old girl drowned lacked required safety measures designed to prevent such tragedies, a city inspector determined Monday.
Neighbors worked feverishly Sunday evening to save Yandeliz del Carmen Claudio after she went into a pool behind 84 South Leyden St., Brockton, two houses down from where she lived. But their rescue efforts proved futile: The child was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
A police investigation found that after wandering into the backyard, the toddler had climbed a ladder measuring approximately 3-feet high to enter the pool.
State law mandates enclosures at least 4-feet tall around any outdoor body of water such as a pool, spa, or hot tub, said Brockton building inspector James Plouffe. Because the pool stood less than 4 feet above ground, a 4-foot fence or some other enclosure was required, Plouffe said.
“This pool was too low; it did not have the barrier around it that’s required,” Plouffe said.
‘My heart really breaks because I wish I had done it differently.’
Under city bylaws, the owners of the pool were required to have a permit, but records show no evidence of that, Plouffe said. When obtaining a permit, owners are informed of the safety requirements. Pool owners found in violation of the code for the first time have time to comply before penalties are levied, Plouffe said.
Multiple agencies are investigating the child’s death, including the State Police, the Plymouth district attorney’s office, and Brockton police.
The Department of Children and Families also launched an investigation after a report alleging child abuse and neglect was received after the child’s death.
A man identified by neighbors as the owner of the pool was dismantling it Monday; he declined to comment. Property records list the owners of the Leyden Street property as Maximo Diaz and Jacqueline Berganza.
Family and friends who gathered at the girl’s home Monday also declined to comment.
Natalianna Terry, 15, who lives next door, said she looked out her window about 7 p.m. Sunday and saw the child in the pool.
Terry said her housemates downstairs saw the toddler near the pool as early as 6 p.m.
“She was just splashing away, having a good time,” said Terry, who saw the girl playing 10 to 15 minutes before any signs of trouble. “I didn’t think anything was wrong, or that she was alone.”
But that changed when Terry noticed the neighbor’s driveway was empty. The neighbors, she said, did not let their children in the pool when adults weren’t home.
Terry raced downstairs.
Her fears were realized when she got outside, and the girl’s father was running down the street, frantically searching for his child.
“My heart started racing; then I saw the guy running down the street,” Terry said. “I just thought, ‘Oh, my God.’ ”
Another neighbor had pulled the child from the pool, and Terry immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
The toddler had no pulse, said Terry, who said she received her CPR certification as part of a high school program in May. She said water spilled from the child’s mouth, but there was no other response.
“She was lifeless and blue; her body was very cold,” said Tamiko Terry, Natalianna’s mother, who took over CPR until police arrived. “I don’t know how they went hours without knowing she wasn’t in the house. If the kid is too quiet, you know something is up.”
The pool was usually covered, with the ladder pulled away when the family wasn’t using it, Tamiko Terry, 33, said. That was not the case Sunday evening, she said.
Tamiko Terry said she didn’t sleep Sunday night. Her mind kept racing. If only, she thought, she had noticed the child was alone, she would have acted sooner.
“My heart really breaks because I wish I had done it differently,” said Terry, a mother of three. “I just didn’t think anyone would leave her alone.”
Matt Woolbright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @reportermatt