After Move Into New Home, NJ Dad Mourning Family Lost in Drowning
EAST BRUNSWICK — A GoFundMe page was created to help the man whose wife, daughter and father drowned in their backyard pool on Monday afternoon.
Fundraiser organizer Sarah Grabowski wrote on the page that Akash Patel and his family had recently moved into the home and had found some respite from the pressures created by the coronavirus pandemic.
"New house, nice neighbors, and a supportive community were proving to be a welcomed escape from the global pandemic. Their new house should have been a haven from the stress of the world and a place to stay safe from the virus," Grabowski wrote.
Police responded about 4:20 p.m. to the home on Clearview Road but not in time to save 62-year-old Bharat Patel, his 33-year-old daughter-in-law Nisha Patel and her 8-year-old daughter.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Christopher L.C. Kuberiet on Wednesday evening said there was no truth to earlier reports suggesting that electricity played a role in the deaths.
"The above-ground pool was mostly shallow at 3½ feet deep but there was a portion of the pool that was 7 feet deep," the prosecutor said in a written statement. "It doesn’t appear that the victims knew how to swim."
In one afternoon, Patel's life was turned around, according to Grabowski.
"It is a disruption of the natural order of life. Compound that enormous hole in your heart with losing your spouse and parent on the same afternoon. It is inconceivable," Grabowski wrote.
She said that after discussion with friends the fund was a way to show support when the usual ways may not be possible and help with the cost of multiple funerals.
"Not being able to mourn with others makes it so much harder. Folks have been experiencing this from the start of the Coronavirus epidemic. While people need to respect social distancing, they also want to show support. How can you help when you cannot offer a hug, bring over meals, or even drop off a card sharing words of support," Grabowski wrote.
NBC 4 New York reported the girl’s aunt yelled for help after girl stepped into the deep section of the pool.
The Middlesex County Regional Medical Examiner’s Office determined the manner of death as accidental and the cause of death to be drowning.