NJ girl reported missing from party. Cops found body in bottom of pool
TEANECK — The mother of the girl who drowned in a rented pool says the relative who took the child to the party failed to keep a close watch on her — and remained oblivious to her body in the deep even as adults tried to find the missing child.
Police were called to the house on Westervelt Place around 6 p.m. Sunday on the report of a missing child. CPR was administered after police found the 7-year-old at the bottom of the pool. She was later pronounced dead at Holy Name Hospital.
The girl was identified as Layla S. Clark in a GoFundMe page created by her mother, Kaylah Johnson, of Newark.
On the campaign page, Johnson said she allowed her cousin to take her child "on a nice Sunday afternoon" because "she always took my daughter places and my daughter loved her beyond words."
"I am in disbelief in the amount of negligence this woman has done to my baby. I let her take my baby to a pool party not knowing she would EVER take eyes off of her," Johnson wrote.
Johnson said the party continued even after her daughter was missing and no one at the party answered the phone.
"I contacted Teaneck, NJ police when the adults at the party stopped taking my calls. I was then told to rush to the hospital where my child had no brain activity nor heartbeat MY BABY WAS FOUND UNDER THE POOL FOR OVER 20 MINUTES," Johnson wrote.
Johnson said Laylah is the oldest of her two children.
It is not clear if authorities are pursuing criminal charges. The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, which would be tasked with investigating a homicide, referred questions to Teaneck police.
Police Chief Glenn O'Reilly on Tuesday afternoon did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information. O'Reilly previously told New Jersey 101.5 that this was "still an active investigation but it does appear to be a tragic accident."
No screaming or splashing, homeowner says
The owner of the home told ABC 7 Eyewitness News that they rented out the pool via the website Swimply. Guests are required to sign a waiver that informs the renter there is no lifeguard and that they have to watch their children.
There is also a sign on the wall in the pool area.
The homeowner told ABC 7 Eyewitness News that she spotted the girl's body as police arrived. She said she didn't hear the girl in distress.
The listing for the pool, which went by "Zen Oasis," was no longer active on Tuesday.