DEERFIELD BEACH (CBSMiami) – Broward Sheriff’s investigators are trying to figure out how twin toddlers were able to slip out of their parent’s Deerfield Beach apartment and into the pool area where they drowned.
A couple from North Carolina spotted the two and a half year old girls, Harmani and Harmony West, floating in the pool at the Tivoli Park apartments on Siesta Key Circle around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
They jumped in, pulled them out and immediately began CPR. Both children were rushed to Broward Health Medical Center but neither child survived.
“They were my soul, I loved them to death, they had their whole life ahead of them,” said the girls’ uncle Johante Johnson. “They were beautiful kids and they loved the beach, they loved swimming. That’s the only thing they wanted to do was swim.”
The children live with their parents in an apartment around the pool area. Family says the toddlers did not know how to swim.
“It was tragic, you know it’s something that the parents didn’t want to happen, they loved their kids, they cherished their kids,” said Johnson.
Johnson said the girls’ parents were asleep because they work very early in the morning. He said the sisters managed to unlock the apartment door and go down the stairs to the pool area. Investigators say the door to the pool gate was broken. Neighbors tell CBS4 it has been that way for years and is always open.
“The door here is usually unlocked. If you can reach to pull it open, it will open,” said Elizabeth Rockafellow, one of West’s neighbors.
“The gate doesn’t have a lock on it, there’s no latch, there’s no way to keep it tight. There’s no way to keep it shut,” said Lou Pena.
“This never should have happened. It’s very, very, very sad. This is something that definitely needs to be fixed,” said Lillian Marzak.
CBS4 reached our to representatives with Tivoli to ask about the broken fence, but received no response.
Johnson said now is not the time for blame and he hopes his families loss is a lesson for parents.
“It was a mistake, everybody makes mistakes. This is just a PSA for everybody who have little kids, you have to watch your kids because you know they grow up so fast, and they’re so intelligent, you know they can unlock doors and go down steps.”
Investigators continue to question the girls’ parents and neighbors. So far no charges have been filed.
The Department of Children and Families was at the complex Wednesday afternoon to investigate. The agency says they have no prior history with the family.
“They will always live through us,” said Johnson. “We will cherish their memory and love them. You know Harmani and Harmony, your uncle here loves you and will forever love you, and you will always be with me.”