Brothers, 5 and 3, drown in neighbor's pool in Union

June 29, 2012 6:20:34 PM PDT
Authorities in northern New Jersey say two young brothers likely scaled a fence and drowned in a neighbor's pool while their mother slept.

Police pulled 3-year-old Kendell Francois and his 5-year-old brother, Kenley, from the bottom of the pool in Union. They were pronounced dead at a hospital at 8:17 p.m. Thursday.

In the normally quiet community, the anguished screams reverberated for blocks as a family clung to one another in shock and neighbors struggled to understand how this could happen.

"I'm here in disbelief," neighbor Viera Cravo said. "I have kids myself. This hits home. I try to teach them pool are not safe without your parents around."

It is a lesson the Francois family is learning in the most horrifying way.

Investigators say Kendall Kenley wandered out of their home around 3 p.m. while their mother slept, climbed a 4-foot chain-link fence and wound up at the bottom of their next door neighbor's pool.

"It seems from the preliminary investigation that these children climbed this fence before, and one of the neighbors complained even the day before," Union County prosecutor Theodore Romankow said. "We're investigating the circumstances in the death of these children."

Their mother awoke after 6 p.m. to find the kids gone and called police. arriving officers found both boys, lifeless, at the bottom of the pool. They started CRP, but it was too late.

"I can't even imagine what the parents are feeling right now," neighbor Mecene Longchamp said. "I can't imagine if that was me. My heart goes out to the family. It's a tragic situation."

Police believe the incident to be a tragic accident, and no charges are expected to be filed.

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