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Authorities say body found in public pool went undetected for days

By Katie Silver, CNN
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Body in public pool undetected for days
  • Authorities say the body a woman who died in a public pool went undetected for days
  • State official: "It is in many respects disturbing and unreal"
  • The lifeguards and managers of the pool are on administrative leave

(CNN) -- Authorities say the body of a woman who died in a Massachusetts public pool went undetected for days as swimmers continued to use the pool before the victim was found floating.

The body of Marie Joseph, 36, was discovered by teenagers Tuesday evening in the Vietnam Veterans Swimming Pool in Fall River, Massachusetts, according to Bristol County district attorney's spokesman Gregg Miliote.

Joseph had gone to the pool on Sunday with a 9-year-old neighbor and his family. She collided with the boy while the pair careened down a pool slide, Miliote said.

After the collision, the boy surfaced but the woman did not, he said.

It was not clear Thursday what happened after the collision or whether the boy and his family sought Joseph's whereabouts when they left the pool.

Authorities continued to investigate the cause of death Thursday.

The pool -- which is 12 feet deep at its deepest --- was described as "cloudy" by a health inspector who examined the pool Tuesday, according to the mayor of Fall River, William Flanagan.

A decomposing body can take a couple of days before it becomes buoyant, Miliote added.

"It is in many respects disturbing and unreal," said Massachusetts Conservation and recreation Commissioner Ed Lambert.

The lifeguards and managers of the swimming pool, along with the three health inspectors involved, have been placed on administrative leave, authorities said.

Twenty-four state pools have also been closed pending further investigation, according to Lambert.

Authorities say the swimmers who used the pool during the two days are not considered to be at risk for health problems.

Meanwhile, a host of Massachusetts state and municipal agencies are conducting independent investigations over the incident.