DA: Fall River Woman Drowned In ‘Murky’ Pool

In this photo provided by Candella Matta, Marie Joseph holds a family friend's daughter in the public swimming pool at Lafayette Park in Fall River.
In this photo provided by Candella Matta, Marie Joseph holds a family friend's daughter in the public swimming pool at Lafayette Park in Fall River.

A preliminary investigation has determined that Marie Joseph, the woman whose body was found in a Fall River pool more than two days after her death, drowned in the “murky” water.

The investigation found that the 36-year-old Joseph drowned on Sunday afternoon in the city’s popular Veterans Memorial Pool while she was swimming with friends, according to a statement from the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. Her body was discovered Tuesday night.

Investigators determined that her body was submerged in the pool’s 12-foot deep end and its surfacing Tuesday evening “resulted from the natural post-mortem changes of the human body.”

In this photo provided by Candella Matta, Marie Joseph holds a family friend's daughter in the public swimming pool at Lafayette Park in Fall River. (AP)

In this photo provided by Candella Matta, Marie Joseph holds a family friend's daughter in the public swimming pool at Lafayette Park in Fall River. (AP)

Following the discovery, state and local officials pledged a probe into how her body apparently went unnoticed by pool-goers, lifeguards and two city health inspectors, who visited the pool on Monday and Tuesday and reported only that the water was cloudy. Those inspectors, and the rest of the pool staff, have been placed on administrative leave.

On Wednesday, a police diver conducted visibility tests in the pool, according to the statement. The tests “revealed that a submerged diver could not be seen at a depth of three-and-a-half to four feet below the surface of the water at the pool’s deep end.

“The investigation thus far establishes that the water in the pool was murky and cloudy from the time the pool opened for the season on Saturday until the pool was closed by the pool staff on Tuesday afternoon,” the district attorney’s office said in the statement.

Authorities stress that their investigation into the delay in finding Joseph is ongoing.

On Thursday, Fall River Mayor William Flanagan also revealed that the pool’s permit expired on Dec. 31, 2010.

The death and subsequent public outcry caused the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which operates the Fall River pool, to temporarily close all of the pools it operates throughout the state. Nearly a dozen of those pools reopened Friday, in time for the holiday weekend.

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