NORTH BABYLON, NY The body of a 14-year-old boy lay undetected at the bottom of a backyard pool on Long Island for two days even as police searched the pool and kids swam in its murky waters, authorities said yesterday.
Elbert Hines' body was found late Sunday, floating straight up in the 8-foot-deep North Babylon pool.
|Children swam in the cloudy pool not knowing the body there.|
Elbert's family reported him missing Saturday afternoon, and police visually inspected the pool that night but found nothing amiss. Children swam in the cloudy water over the weekend, not knowing the body was at the bottom.
"One of the kids remembers bumping into something in the water, but he thought it was a sunk pool toy," said Suffolk County Police Detective Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick. "The visibility in the water was only 12 inches."
He said Elbert's death doesn't appear suspicious, but he did not rule out foul play.
Meanwhile, grief-stricken family members were outraged that Elbert's body went undiscovered for so long.
"He was in the pool for two days, and the people didn't realize this? That bothers me," said Elbert's mother, Tanya Jones.
Teen Couldn't Swim
Elbert Hines Sr. said his son had no business being in the pool. "He's a young man who didn't know how to swim, shouldn't have been in the water and died as a result," the father said.
"I even vacuumed the pool ... And I didn't find him."
|The pool party's host, youth league basketball coach Danny Green, said he knew Elbert could not swim and noticed the teen standing in the shallow end of the pool.|
"It was joyous event that turned into tragedy," added Green, who threw the birthday party for his 15-year-old son.
Elbert, who lived with his parents and two older sisters in West Babylon, left home at 8 p.m. Friday and pedaled to the party on his bike, relatives said.
He was supposed to be home at 9 p.m. but about that time, witnesses told police, he left in a car. It's unclear when he returned, police said.
When he failed to come home, his family searched frantically for him, plastering the area with "missing" posters.
On Sunday night, when cops went back to the pool with the family, Elbert's sister Tia, 23, spotted her brother's head bobbing at the surface.
His family said Elbert, who was set to attend North Babylon High School in September, was a track standout and dreamed of playing professional basketball.
"He wanted to be the next Allen Iverson," said his sister Michelle, 19.