Two five-year-old girls lost their lives Sunday after drowning in a pool at a home in Dallas, Ga., and the grandmother of one is being blamed for the deaths by the father of the other.
Eduardo Juarez, whose daughter, Sophia, 5, drowned in the tragedy said the whole incident is the fault of the grandmother of Mia Penoyer, the other victim, also 5.
The name of the grandmother, who was employed as a live-in housekeeper by the Juarez family, hasn't been released, but Juarez said the deaths are her fault because she was distracted by a 45-minute phone call instead of watching the kids.
"The nanny is 100 percent responsible for all of this," he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. "We trusted her for taking care of our daughter, and instead, she got distracted on the phone."
Sgt. Bill Gormon of the Dallas Police Department said Penoyer’s grandmother, who is 58, was in the home Sunday afternoon and got a text message from a friend just before 1 p.m. asking her to call. She made that call after receiving the message and stayed on the phone for 45 minutes.
“Sometime during that 45-minute time span, the little girls ventured out of the house, into the backyard and into the swimming pool,” Gormon told Dallas-Hiram.Patch.com. “We don’t know why they left or what they had in mind, [but] they were not swimming -- they had already talked about swimming, they were already told no because of the rainy weather.
"They were both fully clothed when they were found, and no one knows how they got out of the house, when they went out of the house, any of this.”
When the Juarez family returned, the caregiver thought that the children were in an upstairs room. However, when the girls could not be found in the house, Sophia's 10-year-old brother went to the backyard and discovered both Sophia and Mia at the bottom of the pool.
Police said there were no witnesses, but Juarez believes the fact that Penoyer's grandmother was distracted while on duty makes her responsible.
The housekeeper now faces a misdemeanor reckless conduct charge.
“This tragedy occurred in less than an hour," he told WSB-TV. "We left the girl with the babysitter while we were buying food for lunch. At this point, there is nothing that will bring my daughter back to me, but I believe the law has to be enforced and that she [the babysitter] has to be held accountable for her actions."
Gormon told CBS Atlanta that Penoyer's grandmother will be charged with reckless conduct, which is a misdemeanor, but admitted the district attorney could file more serious charges.
Still, he's more concerned with mercy at the moment.
"I'm a father and when I was at the hospital with those two beautiful girls in that condition, it just tore my heart out," Gormon told the TV station.