Woman's body found after 2 days in public pool
FALL RIVER, Massachusetts (AP) — Police were poring over surveillance video and conducting interviews as they tried to figure out how a body wound up in a public swimming pool and when it got there.
Officials also were investigating the seemingly outlandish possibility that Marie Joseph’s body was at the bottom of the pool for more than two days without lifeguards, health inspectors or other swimmers even noticing.
Massachusetts officials also closed 24 state-run deep-water swimming pools and suspended staff at the Fall River pool. Two Fall River inspectors also were placed on paid leave, Mayor William Flanagan said Thursday.
Youngsters who jumped over a fence Tuesday night for a clandestine swim found Joseph’s body floating in Veterans Memorial Pool, police said.
WATCH MSNBC’S COVERAGE HERE
[NBCVIDEO source=”UNIWIDGET” video=”http://widgets.nbcuni.com/singleclip/singleclip_v1.swf?CXNID=1000004.08052NXC&WID=4a784acd2b1a7e80&clipID=1338466″ w=”400″ h=”400″]
Police said the 36-year-old Joseph had not been reported missing but had not been seen since Sunday.
Flanagan said two health inspectors visited the pool on Monday, and one of them returned Tuesday.
“The only noteworthy thing in the report listed the clarity (of the water) as cloudy,” Flanagan said.
The Fall River pool is 12 feet (3 1/2 meters) deep and employs 12 staffers, six of whom are lifeguards and are certified by the Red Cross.
Several people were interviewed Wednesday night about Joseph’s death, Fall River police Lt. Roger LaFleur said.
Flanagan said questions remain about what happened and that the city would cooperate with a state investigation being conducted by the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which runs the pool.
During his monthly radio show on WTKK-FM, Gov. Deval Patrick called the case terrible and bizarre and expressed his condolences to the family. He said he ordered an investigation into DCR procedures, adding that he hoped it would be concluded in time for the busy holiday weekend.
Senate President Therese Murray said: “This is a terrible tragedy for everyone involved. It’s hard to imagine something like this could occur, and we expect a thorough investigation to be conducted.”
Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Edward Lambert Jr. said 24 pools would remain closed until state officials review their infrastructure and workers’ certifications.
He said it’s possible that most pools would reopen Friday. Lambert said that the state officials have not been able to talk to Fall River pool employees because they are talking to law enforcement first.
Lauren Smith, state public health medical director, said it’s unlikely that anyone’s health is a risk.
“I want to reassure the public (that) as disturbing as it is to you, there are no health risks associated with this,” she said.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.