Father blames nanny for children's drownings


DALLAS, Ga. - The father of a 5-year-old girl who drowned in a back yard pool said, “The nanny is 100 percent responsible.”

Eduardo Juarez said his family is devastated by the death of his daughter, Sophia. The girl was being watched by the family’s in-home housekeeper when she and the housekeeper’s own 5-year-old granddaughter, Mia Penoyer, drowned. The housekeeper now faces a misdemeanor reckless conduct charge.

“This tragedy occurred in less than an hour. We left the girl with the baby sitter 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,” Juarez said.

The incident occurred at a home in the Vista Lake subdivision in Dallas on Sunday.

Dallas police are not naming the in-home caretaker, but she was hospitalized at last check.  

Sgt. Bill Gorman told Channel 2’s Linda Stouffer the frantic search started when the family couldn’t find the children.

“They began to search the whole house, and they couldn’t find them. Their 10-year-old son found the two girls at the bottom of the swimming pool, the family pool in the back yard,” Gorman said.

Police said that the caretaker was on a 45-minute phone call when the children went out to the pool.

Neighbors were surprised by the drowning because Sophia Juarez knew how to swim. Lisa Davis told Stouffer, “She knew how to swim the length of her pool, and whenever she was at the community pool, she could swim up there very well on her own. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Sophia and Mia were still in their clothes when they were found, and Juarez believes his daughter was trying to save the other girl.

Family and friends came to the subdivision Monday to support the grieving family.

“It’s very upsetting. A lot of thought, a lot of prayers, a lot of sympathy goes out to that family,” said neighbor Michael Florio.