How did 2-year-old Maddigan McCarthy get out of her parents’ Berkeley, New jersey home on Monday evening — only to be found less than an hour after police were called, floating in a neighbor’s swimming pool? That’s what police are trying to figure out as they continue to investigate after reportedly finding drugs in the parents’ house.
The toddler was given immediate CPR and rushed to a nearby medical center. But it was too late. Madigan McCarthy was pronounced dead at 9:34 p.m., reportedly by drowning.
The little girl’s dad, 41-year-old Robert Trella Jr., was taken into custody, according to a report in The Asbury Park Press newspaper, and spent most of the night in a cell — not knowing what happened to his missing daughter.
A distraught Trella said he was told about the death of his little daughter at around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning, when he was finally freed.
“Could you imagine being in that cell all night wondering if your daughter’s alive?” he was heard to ask a police officer Tuesday, according to the Asbury Park Press report.
Police say they do not know how the little girl was able to wander out of her own home, and they do not know who, if anyone, was supervising Maddigan at the time.
Investigators also want to know how she found her way into the neighbor’s pool, pictured here in an image aired by WCAU-TV in Philadelphia.
Sources told that television station that the drugs found in the home of Trella and Maddigan’s mother, Brigitte McCarthy, 31, were marijuana and heroin.
In-ground pools constructed since 2009 in New Jersey must be surrounded by a four-foot safety barrier, but investigators have not yet determined whether the pool in which Maddigan McCarthy drowned met that requirement, or it the rule even applied to that particular pool.
According to media reports, the pool was secured by a rusting wire fence. Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Spokesperson Al Della Fave told the media that the child somehow found an opening in the fence and wandered through.
The owner of that pool has not been named publicly, but the parents of Maddigan McCarthy were involved in an altercation with a neighbor after they learned that their daughter had perished — an altercation that required police to remain on site to keep the heated verbal exchange from escalating.
Police also had to restrain Trella from confronting a reporter at about 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning.
Less than a month ago, a mom in Houston left her home to run a few brief errands, returning to find two of her children, ages 6 and 9, drowned in a backyard pool.
Prosecutors and police are continuing to investigate to determine if charges should be filed in the death of little Maddigan McCarthy, either against the toddler’s parents, the neighbor, or both.
[Image: News 12 New Jersey Screen Grab]