A woman is being investigated by the police after her baby daughter was found dead in her pool and the autopsy revealed the cause of death was not drowning.
Heloisa, aged 1 year and 2 months, was found dead in the swimming pool at her home, where she lived with her mother and grandmother, in the Brazilian municipality of Juquitiba last month.
According to reports, the three and Heloisa’s mother’s boyfriend were at the house the night before Heloisa was found dead, and empty beer cans were found close to the pool.
Heloisa’s mother and grandmother, whose names have not been revealed, told the police they found Heloisa in the pool after leaving her alone for a few moments.
The baby’s tragic death initially appeared to be an accident. However, the autopsy found no water in her lungs, stomach, windpipe or pharynx, and the hypothesis of death by drowning was ruled out.
The cause of death was later found to be a spinal cord injury, which Heloisa’s mother’s lawyer, Andre Devitte, has said may have been caused by the youngster falling in or near the pool and then toppling into the water.
A spinal cord injury means damage to the spinal cord preventing messages from the brain from reaching the body, and if it occurs high enough, can stop breathing and even the heartbeat, leading to death.
He said the reason no water was found in her body may have been because the spinal cord injury was severe enough to stop the youngster from breathing.
Other family members, however, distrust this version of events, with Heloisa’s maternal grandfather, Edson Nascimento, suspecting his granddaughter was thrown into the pool already dead after suffering the injury.
Nascimento has hired a lawyer, Felipe dos Santos Camargo, who has said that his client does not believe that the youngster could have fallen over of her own accord with enough force to cause a spinal cord injury and then end up in the pool as well.
Edson told local news channel R7: “Something really happened that is being hidden.”
When asked by a reporter if he thought his own daughter was lying, he replied: “Yes; I believe she is lying.”
Heloisa’s paternal grandmother, Nalva Maria, also suspects her ex-daughter-in-law and the woman’s mother of hiding the truth about what really happened.
She pointed out that the two had posted photos to social media showing themselves smiling and drinking with friends just two weeks after the incident.
Devitte has denied that his client was not in mourning, claiming that psychologists and psychiatrists recommend social interaction following a bereavement as a way of reducing the pain.
Nascimento has revealed that his daughter was constantly drinking and partying and posting photos of the social gatherings at her home to social media.
The police are investigating the case and have questioned close to 20 people so far, including relatives from both sides of the family and friends of the suspects.
The investigation is ongoing.