HENDERSON, Nev. (KLAS) — A 2-year-old girl drowned after getting into a pool unattended, and now her mother is suing, saying her death could have been prevented if a door and a pool gate had been fixed.
Nevaeh Board was staying at her father’s home, which he rented, when she drowned in the pool on January 31, 2020, a lawsuit filed in district court said.
“The last thing I said to my daughter was, and I had her repeat it, ‘I am beautiful the way I am.’” Nevaeh’s mother, Anjelica Jones, told the I-Team.
Jones had dropped her daughter off at her father’s house and said goodbye, just like any other time the toddler was in his care.
“I didn’t get to really hug her the way I wanted to,” Jones lamented. “She gave me a quick hug and ran off with her dad.”
According to the lawsuit, Nevaeh went down for a nap at 11 a.m. Less than an hour later at 11:40, a family member noticed the back door was open.
“She just slipped out of the house,” Jones said.
According to the Clark County Coroner’s report cited in the lawsuit, the “rear slider [door] to the backyard does not lock and [the] family uses a piece of wood to secure it. The decedent can open the door on her own when the wood piece is not in place.”
The report also describes the gate to the pool area as broken, saying, “the decedent was able to get under it.”
Neveah exited the house through the back door, entered the pool area through a hole in a gate connected to mesh fencing and was found face down in the pool, the lawsuit says.
“She’s in the pool, and nobody can really tell me what happened or how long she was in the pool for,” Jones shared.
A family member found Nevaeh in the pool and attempted CPR. She was rushed to Henderson Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Jones and the coroner’s report say Nevaeh often followed the family’s dogs, and she may have followed the pets to the pool area. Investigators found no flaws with the pool or the water in it, which could have contributed to the girls’ death, the report explains.
“Everything should have been up to par,” Jones said. “Those things should be fixed.”
Her lawsuit is filed against the property owner, the management company, Nevaeh’s father and his fiancée, records show.
In a cross complaint filed by Nevaeh’s father and his fiancée, they said he requested the property owner “complete repairs” when he moved in four years ago.
“At the beginning of their rental, the cross-complaint requested that the owner of the property… complete repairs to the property as it was in disrepair and presented hazardous conditions,” the document said. “This request was made many times to the rental agents [who] represented the owner. Despite numerous requests, no repairs were done.”
According to court documents, the home’s owner lives in California.
“They made numerous requests for the owner to come and make repairs and he refused,” Dennis Prince, Jones’ attorney said. “If one more death can be prevented because of this lawsuit, then we’ve accomplished a greater goal.”
Prince points to Clark County code, which requires properties with pools and spas maintain safety standards, including mesh fencing, door latches and their maintenance. Clark County adheres to the “2018 International Swimming Pool and Spa Code,” a product of the International Code Council. The code outlines the need for maintained fencing or another barrier.
In addition, the City of Henderson has its own code requirement, saying “fencing or other barriers required for swimming pool and spa enclosures shall be properly maintained as specified in the Southern Nevada Pool Code in effect at the time of pool construction.”
Nevaeh would be 3-years-old today. The coroner’s office lists her cause of death as an accidental drowning.
Ten people die in the United States every day from drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About one in five of those downing deaths, two per death, is a child under the age of 14.
The I-Team reached out to the property owner’s attorney and the property management company and did not receive a response.