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"Crime Scene" Tape Blocks Off House Where 2-Year-Old Lakewood Girl Was Found In Septic Tank

Child had been playing in the back of her Spruce Street home, Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford says

Police tape nearly surrounded the site Tuesday where a 2-year-old girl was found dead at the bottom of a septic tank last night as prosecutors coninued to investigate the tragedy.

Tape labeled "Crime Scene/Do Not Cross" blocked off a vacant house where children's toys sat in the yard, as police and media vehicles descended on the scene.

The girl's mother, Marina Matias, called police at 4:49 p.m. to report her child was missing. Police and emergency service personnel went to the East Spruce Street home and began searching for the little girl, identified as "J.C." Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford said.

The mother was inside the house tending to a 2-month-old baby while her four other children played in the backyard, Ford told Patch late Monday night.

The mother spent about 20 minutes frantically searching for the child, then called police, said Ford.

The search teams found a 3-foot wide hole in the yard, apparently leading to an uncovered septic tank. Lakewood Public Works was called in to pump out the water in the tank, Ford said.

"At approximately 7:30 p.m., the water level had been dropped and police and emergency personnel unfortunately made visual observation of the body of a child in that tank," she said.

Emergency crews were able to remove the child's body from the septic tank at 10:33 p.m., Ford said.

"It was a difficult process to try and bring the body out," she said.

The child was pronounced dead at the scene by the Ocean County Medical Examiner, Ford said.

Ford said it was unclear whether the family knew the hole was in the backyard, or if the uncovered septic tank was operational.

"I don't have the answers," Ford said. "Obviously we haven't been able to interview the family."

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and the Lakewood Police Department are conducting the investigation, she said.

"We all join in expressing our sympathy to the family of this child," Ford said. "I ask that the media be respectful of their privacy at this time."

Anyone with any information should call Detective Sgt. Carlos Trujillotovar at the Prosecutor's Office at 732-929-2027.

WhyohWhy March 14, 2012 at 09:26 PM
AGAIN... SHARON... DOES IT MATTER WHO THE LANDLORD IS? REALLY ? UGH... YOU PEOPLE REALLY SLAY ME. AND NO Project I am not a friend or family member of this family... and so what if I was ?
Ryan P. Hennessey March 15, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Im sorry did it say somewere the family was forced to live in this house. Maybe you should take a look at the parents who chose to live there.
Rick Ricky March 17, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Ryan P. Hennessey. You are an arrogant and ignorant in my opinion. Maybe the family did not have a choice to live anywhere else other than the streets. These slumlords get way to much for their dumps. It should be against the law, they should have inspectors closing these places down if they will not fix them to be fit.
Frankie T March 17, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Sounds like a plan to me. Everyone would win- the renters get more for their money, the neighborhood gets crap-shacks and junkyard properties remodeled and cleaned up, and property values respectable again. Win- Win
john March 17, 2012 at 02:50 PM
these probally maybe are section 8 housing. with little or no hope of cleaning them up. but hopefully a investigation will determine the point of which a home was allowed to be occupied with a open sess pool. parents be on alert, see something that doesnt look right, say something......i m sure every township in NJ has some sort of CO inspection before a home is occupied.

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