This is a very tragic story.
April 10, 2014 Published by the Indianapolis Star Newspaper
AURORA, Ind. — Authorities say twin 2-year-old girls who wandered away from their southeastern Indiana home drowned in rainwater atop a neighbor’s swimming pool cover.
They identified the girls Wednesday as Jocelyn and Shaylyn Spurlock of Aurora, a town about 20 miles west of Cincinnati.
The Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department says the girls were reported missing Tuesday evening and found more than an hour later by a neighbor and firefighter. The girls were rushed to a hospital in Lawrenceburg, where they were pronounced dead.
Neighbors tells WLWT-TV and WKRC-TV the girls were flower girls in their parents’ wedding Saturday.
WLWT reports the girls’ mother left the girls with a grandmother while she ran an errand and the grandmother fell asleep.
Sgt. Jon Evans said a woman with Alzheimer’s disease drowned nearby last week.
A neighbor and a firefighter found the girls in the water on top of a pool cover that had standing water from recent storms, Detective Sgt. John Vance told WLWT-TV, Cincinnati.
“I was in my yard with my husband,” neighbor Heather Bressert told WCPO-TV, Cincinnati. “A couple of firemen and my husband noticed something in my neighbors’ pool. While we were walking down there we quickly figured out what we saw was a small child.”
The girls drowned by accident, according to a preliminary autopsy Wednesday from the Dearborn County coroner’s office.
“I ran, picked one of the little girls up and brought her up to a fireman and started CPR,” Bressert said. “Another fireman jumped in the pool to pick up the other little girl.”
The family who owned the home where the girls were found was out of town Tuesday.
Not all pool covers protect children from mishaps, child-safety advocates say.
Covers over pools and spas should be rigid and strong enough to hold a child who might try to walk on them. Some can be locked so only an adult can remove them. And ladders to above-ground pools also should be removed when the pools are not in use, according to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission. A fence around the entire pool area creates a barrier. Supervision of children also is extremely important.
Dearborn County’s planning and zoning director, Mark McCormack told WSCH-FM, Lawrenceburg that Indiana law and county code require a fence around any pool unless its cover meets certain specifications, including being able to support a 400-pound weight. It is unclear whether the above-ground pool’s cover met those specifications or whether the yard was fenced.
The twins’ parents, Brad and Breanna Spurlock, had reported the girls missing about the same time emergency crews came to the neighborhood, Dearborn County Sheriff’s Maj. Terry Van Winkle said.
A grandmother was watching the girls for about an hour while their parents picked up some recently purchased furniture but had fallen asleep, according to the mother’s 911 call.
“I’ve been to a lot of scenes like that, and I’ve been to the hospital. I haven’t seen that much family at the hospital in my career. They’re just absolutely devastated,” Detective Barry Bridges told WLWT-TV.