The three family members found dead in the backyard pool of their recently purchased New Jersey home drowned, local officials said Tuesday.
Authorities had been investigating if Bharat Patel, 62, his 33-year old daughter-in-law, Nisha Patel, and her 8-year-old daughter had been electrocuted in the above-ground pool in East Brunswick, but ruled that out Tuesday afternoon.
The three lived in the house on Clearview Road, which the family bought in April for $451,000, according to public records.
Neighbors on the leafy suburban street recalled hearing screaming from the backyard Monday.
“We believe 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 did not hear any of the initial commotion — said on Tuesday that cops initially came to her door thinking the scream had originated from her home.
“I told them not here, and they ran next door,” she said.
Police attempted CPR but pronounced the 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 go out to the family and may they find strength from the community that shares in their grief,” he said.
At least a dozen friends and family members were seen arriving and leaving the home throughout the day on Tuesday. All politely declined to comment.
Investigators originally suspected the victims had been electrocuted because the pool is above ground, law-enforcement sources said.
When an electrician’s van pulled up to the house Monday, neighbors feared an electrical current may have doomed the family members.
“It’s going around that they were electrocuted,” the family’s next-door neighbor, who asked that her name not be revealed, told The Post.
“The fact that they had an electrician’s truck show up shortly thereafter — I mean, it wouldn’t make sense that three people just drowned right away like that, with an adult there, too,” neighbor Phil Peterson told CBS New York.
The former owner who had sold the house to the family told The Post he never problems with the pool.
Law-enforcement sources said the pool varied in depth, with a deep end or a section in the middle that was several feet.
Investigators have not determined how all three family members drowned, but were seeking to determine if they were not strong swimmers and panicked when reaching deeper water.
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