Two-Year-Old Lakewood Girl Found In Septic Tank Died Of Drowning

Child had been playing in the back of her Spruce Street home, Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford says

An autopsy of a 2-year-old Lakewood girl found in a septic tank Monday showed that accidental drowning was the cause of death, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office reported Tuesday afternoon.

There was no sign of foul play or trauma, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford.

Prosecutors will continue to investigate the incident to rule out any criminal action that could have contributed to the death, Ford said.

The autopsy was conducted by Ian Hood, who has served as chief medical examiner for Burlington County.

At the conclusion of the investigation, Ford said, prosecutors will share their conclusions with the Child Fatality Review Board, which independently evaluates the circumstances of an unattended child fatality.

“I would like to thank the many members of law enforcement, the volunteer and compensated emergency services, the State Police and members of the public for their speedy response to this emergency," Ford said. "I know we all mourn the loss of this innocent little girl.”

Tuesday where the 2-year-old girl, only known as J.C., was found dead at the bottom of a septic tank last night as prosecutors continued to investigate the tragedy.

Tape labeled "Crime Scene/Do Not Cross" blocked off a vacant house where children's toys sat in the yard, as police and media descended on the scene.

The girl's mother, Marina Matias, called police at 4:49 p.m. to report her child was missing. Police and emergency service personnel went to the East Spruce Street home and began searching for the little girl, Ford said.

The mother was inside the house tending to a 2-month-old baby while her four other children played in the backyard, Ford told Patch late Monday night.

The mother spent about 20 minutes frantically searching for the child, then called police, said Ford.

The search teams found a 3-foot wide hole in the yard, apparently leading to an uncovered septic tank. Lakewood Public Works was called in to pump out the water in the tank, Ford said.

"At approximately 7:30 p.m., the water level had been dropped and police and emergency personnel unfortunately made visual observation of the body of a child in that tank," she said.

Emergency crews were able to remove the child's body from the septic tank at 10:33 p.m., Ford said.

"It was a difficult process to try and bring the body out," she said.

The child was pronounced dead at the scene by the Ocean County Medical Examiner, Ford said.

Ford said it was unclear whether the family knew the hole was in the backyard, or if the uncovered septic tank was operational.

"I don't have the answers," Ford said. "Obviously we haven't been able to interview the family."

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and the Lakewood Police Department are conducting the investigation, she said.

"We all join in expressing our sympathy to the family of this child," Ford said. "I ask that the media be respectful of their privacy at this time."

Anyone with any information should call Detective Sgt. Carlos Trujillotovar at the Prosecutor's Office at 732-929-2027.

Securevelope March 15, 2012 at 02:41 PM
@EggsnToast - (part two due to character limitation) NONE of your excuses is valid. NOT ONE of them. Anyone with half a brain would know exactly how to remedy the situation and then bring it to the landlord's attention or if he won't bother, the health department, department of housing etc. So many avenues to use to get satisfaction there are no excuses. People live like they do because they choose to, at least to some degree. No one should be so lazy as to wait for someone else to remedy a situation that is unsatisfactory. ALL townships offer some way to haul crap from the curb and if they don't, then you leave it there and make a complaint until it's gone. THERE ARE WAYS TO GET THINGS DONE. Until people stop being lazy in this regard, slumlords will always have the upper hand and never be stopped. If it's unreported, ignored or worse, accepted as normal, then it's going to continue. And just so you know Eggs the Know it All - I've been dirt poor for many years of my life. I speak from experience on how things can get done. THERE IS NO EXCUSE and no landlord should be depended on to do the right thing. YOU FORCE THEM TO.
Eggs-n-Toast March 15, 2012 at 03:58 PM
You really need to calm down. Talk about reading way too much into someone's posts. We are not talking about NYCHA nor your mother's experiences there. We are all talking about a local incident where a child's life was lost. This isn't the projects in NYC, this is a single family home, owned by some out of town slumlord, in Lakewood, NJ, and it just may be possible there is provable negligence on the part of that slumlord. That was my point. Which pretty much agrees with what you've said in your last sentence (in Part II) of your unnecessary rant. However, All your other bull about being poor, no excuses for the tenant- poor or not- but then it comes back to the landlord is all just....backpeddling. As far as you not talking about THIS particular woman not cleaning up the yard, please... that's EXACTLY who you were aiming that criticism at - and you know it.
Securevelope March 15, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Don't tell me what I know. And don't tell me to calm down. How do you know my state of excitability? I'm not talking about the NYCHA either - again, your failure to comprehend is amazing. I was using that as an example. Why? Because it matters not whether it's a large project or a single family home, SOMETIMES the tenants are at fault. Finding refrigerators and sofas down the elevator shaft or blocking the fire exits is a prime example of the crap landlords do have to put up with. Every situation is different. Not every landlord is a slum lord. This one is. Backpedaling? Bah. Yeah it does come back to the landlord, but if you do nothing proactive, NOTHING gets done and the landlord wins. And if you want to believe that I was talking about this woman specifically, so be it. I already know from other conversations with you that you are only going to see things the way you want to see them and interpret everyone's words to what makes you feel better. Mattie, that goes for you too.
Mattie March 15, 2012 at 04:41 PM
LOL Peace Brother (or sister)
Arlen March 19, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Thank you Dan, that needed to be said. Im glad you posted. My heart goes out to the family.


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