Electricity ruled out as factor in East Brunswick drownings

EAST BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Authorities say electricity didn't play a role in the drowning deaths of three family members in their backyard swimming pool in New Jersey.

Investigators had called an electrical contractor to the home in East Brunswick and sources say they believed there may have been an electrical issue in or near the pool that led to the deaths.

Middlesex County prosecutors and police said Wednesday that electricity played no part in their deaths. They said that while the above-ground pool was mostly shallow at 3 1/2 feet deep, a portion of the pool was 7 feet deep and "It doesn't appear that the victims knew how to swim."

Officials identified the victims on Tuesday as Bharat Patel, 62, his 33-year old daughter-in-law, Nisha Patel, and her 8-year-old daughter.

They were found unresponsive in the above-ground pool Monday afternoon by police responding to a 911 call from neighbors who heard screams.

The county's regional medical examiner determined the cause of death to be drowning and ruled the manner of death as accidental for all three victims. The investigation is continuing, and anyone with information is asked to call police or prosecutors.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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