We now know the identities of the 18-month-old and 16-month-old who died by drowning while unattended at the Happy Happy Home daycare center in San Jose, and the operators of the center have been charged with felony child endangerment.
It was October 2 when the tragic news broke that two toddlers had died by drowning, plus a third was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, at a home-operated San Jose daycare center called Happy Happy Home. The children were allegedly unsupervised when they fell into a pool. This past Friday, the mother-and-daughter co-owners Shahin Gheblehshenas and Nina Fathizadeh were both charged with criminal negligence and felony child endangerment resulting in death, according to Hoodline.
Two toddlers who drowned at a San Jose day care Monday have been identified. The Santa Clara County Coroner confirmed Tuesday that they were two one-year-old girls, Payton Cobb from Hollister and Lilian Hanan from San Jose. https://t.co/37ANq8lpd5 pic.twitter.com/jRZ6bkejMa— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) October 4, 2023
We soon learned who the children were, and their grieving families have posted remembrances online. According to a GoFundMe, one of the victims is 18-month-old Payton Cobb. “In the short time Payton was with us she blossomed into a beautiful, energetic, joyful, and very personable little girl,” the GoFundMe campaign says. “She brightened every day for (parents) Jacob and Anjel. We have no words to describe the grief that their family is experiencing right now."
Meanwhile, the family of 16-month-old victim Lillian "Lily" Jade Hanan created the above video for her Celebration of Life. “Lily Jade was a miracle baby for Josephine and Scott Hanan after more than 15 years of trying. She was born in Savannah, GA and openly adopted at birth,” the family wrote in an obituary. "Lily knew Baby American Sign Language and her first signs were ‘light on’ and ‘light off’. She routinely used ‘lights off’ to request her parents to ‘turn off the sun’. She was estimated to be just a few weeks from speaking verbally."
A third victim, a 2-year-old boy, survived after reportedly also being found floating in the pool with the two girls.
According to San Jose police, they received a call at 9 a.m. reporting the drowning. Gheblehshenas was at a different daycare facility at the time of the drowning, and Fathizadeh was the only worker present. She was making breakfast when the unattended children fell into the pool. The main issue, reportedly, was that a protective fence with a gate around the pool had been left open for someone to water plants.
“There is a responsibility to watch over little children in your care like a hawk,” Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “Now it is our responsibility to make sure that these defendants are held accountable for this avoidable and heart-breaking tragedy.”
Gheblehshenas and Fathizadeh are both scheduled to be arraigned on December, 2023, at the San Jose Hall of Justice.
Image via GoFundMe