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3 ordered to quit after body in pool went undetected for days

By Leigh Remizowski, CNN
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Body in public pool undetected for days
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two Massachusetts pool employees and their supervisor are ordered to resign
  • Marie Joseph, 36, drowned four days before her body was discovered
  • Poor found poor water clairty the main hindrance to her body being discovered
  • Authorities plan to enact a new water clarity test at pools statewide

(CNN) -- Two pool employees and their supervisor were forced to resign on Wednesday after a woman's body went undetected in a public Massachusetts pool for four days in June until her body floated to the top.

The Vietnam Veteran's Swimming Pool manager and assistant manager -- as well as the Southeast Regional Director of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, have resigned -- according to a statement released by Edward Lambert, the agency's commissioner.

Lambert requested they leave their posts because of "poor decision making and failure to follow (department) pool protocols."

The resignations come in the wake of an investigation into the drowning of Marie Joseph, 36, on June 26. Joseph's body wasn't discovered until the evening of June 30 by teenagers at the pool in Fall River.

"This tragic event leaves heavy hearts in an agency that prides itself on its ability to provide high quality, safe, recreational opportunities for the residents of the Commonwealth," Lambert said in a statement. "We hope that, as an agency, we will continue to work to restore and maintain the public's confidence in our ability to fulfill the mission expected of us by the Governor and residents who visit our facilities."

After Joseph's body was discovered, Lambert ordered the pool closed and appointed a team of officials to investigate her death. The pool's staff as well as the district manager who oversees the pool all were put on administrative leave.

The investigation determined that poor water clarity was the primary factor that kept lifeguards from being aware of the drowning and finding Joseph after her death. In fact, the 12-foot-deep pool was so cloudy that it should not have opened the day she drowned, authorities said.

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 went down a pool slide, said Bristol County District Attorney's spokesman Gregg Miliote.

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

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

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

The investigation is ongoing and the Vietnam Veteran's pool will remain closed, according to Lambert's statement.

In the meantime, DCR officials have closed several waterslides throughout the state and imposed new restrictions at public pools.

Authorities plan to enact a new water clarity test at pools throughout Massachusetts which requires that a five-inch black disc placed at the bottom of the pool is visible at all times.

The state will also require that the "pool checks" normally performed by lifeguards from the pool deck include an underwater check as well.

CNN's Katie Silver contributed to this report.

 
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