The three family members were found drowned in the backyard pool of their newly purchased home in New Jersey, local officials said Tuesday.
Authorities had been investigating whether Bharat Patel, 62, his 33-year-old daughter-in-law, Nisha Patel, and his 8-year-old daughter had been electrocuted in the above-ground pool in East Brunswick, but ruled it out Tuesday. late.
The three lived in the Clearview Road house, which the family bought in April for $ 451,000, according to public records.
Neighbors on the lush suburban street recalled hearing screams from the backyard on Monday.
“We think the mother was screaming from inside the pool [area] for help, ”police spokesman Frank Sutter said at a press conference.
A next-door neighbor, who said she heard nothing of the initial shock, said Tuesday that police officers initially came to her door thinking that the scream had originated in her home.
“I told them they weren’t here, and they ran to the side,” he said.
Police attempted CPR but declared all three victims dead at the scene, authorities said.
Mayor Brad Cohen told NJ.com that “the entire East Brunswick community is shocked and saddened.”
“Our condolences are with the family and that they find the strength of the community that shares their pain,” he said.
At least a dozen friends and family were seen arriving and leaving the house throughout the day on Tuesday. Everyone politely declined to comment.
Investigators originally suspected the victims had been electrocuted because the pool is above ground, police sources said.
When an electrician’s van arrived at the house on Monday, neighbors feared that an electric current may have condemned family members.
“He is running around being electrocuted,” the next door neighbor to the family, who asked that her name not be revealed, told The Post.
“The fact that they had an electrician truck comes up soon after; I mean, it wouldn’t make sense for three people to drown right away like this, with an adult there as well,” neighbor Phil Peterson told CBS New York.
The former owner who had sold the house to the family told The Post that he never has a problem with the pool.
Police sources said the pool varied in depth, with a deep end or section in the middle measuring several feet.
Investigators have not determined how the three family members drowned, but were trying to determine if they were not strong swimmers and panicked upon reaching deeper waters.