Entries in Drowning (10)


Man Drowns Trying to Save Wife, Dog in Rough California Surf

Photos[dot]com/Thinkstock(NOVATO, Calif.) -- A California man who went into rough ocean waves to try and rescue his wife and dog drowned when he was pulled more than a half-mile off shore on New Year's Day.

The man, who was identified by Mercury News as 59-year-old Charles Quaid, went into the water at Point Reyes National Seashore to try and help his wife and dog, according to officials.

Quaid's wife was caught in the wake of 10- to 12-foot waves that were crashing on the beach, which is particularly exposed to swell, Capt. Chris Martinelli of the Marin County Fire Department said Wednesday.

Temperatures in the water are in the low 50s right now, he said.

Bystanders on the beach helped pull Quaid's wife to shore, while the dog made it back onto the beach as well, Martinelli said. They were not able to assist Quaid, and called for emergency help around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Helicopters and boat rescue teams from the fire department, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the National Park Service scoured the water off the coast for Quaid.

Quaid's body was spotted around 4 p.m., and located by rescuers on jet skis who were part of the rescue operation. A paramedic on board the jet ski declared Quaid dead during the recovery, Martinelli said.

Quaid's wife and dog were not injured. The Coast Guard would not comment on the identity of those involved in the incident, and Martinelli referred the matter to the Fire Department spokesman, who did not return a call from ABC News.

"That beach is notorious," Martinelli said. "There are signs posted pretty well in that area warning of danger. This beach in particular is very exposed to the swell, and this time of year there are very large swells. If you aren't watching the water they can come up out of nowhere."

The rough surf off the northern California coast claimed three other lives in November 2012 when a family was swept out to sea after the family dog was caught in a wave near Big Lagoon.

A teenager and his mother and father all drowned in the Nov. 26 incident, in which a "sneaker wave," which was larger than previous sets of waves, came up onto shore forcefully. An older daughter and the family dog survived the incident.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Utah Doctor Charged with Drowning, Drugging Wife Will Face Trial

Hemera/Thinkstock(PROVO, Utah) -- A Utah judge has decided that a once prominent doctor who was recently freed from prison for identity fraud will now stand trial for the murder of his wife, calling his actions surrounding her death "evidence of a guilty mind."

Martin MacNeill, 57, a doctor and former Mormon Sunday school teacher, served three years in a Texas federal prison for fraud and was released in July.  Last month, MacNeill was arrested on murder charges -- the warrant alleging that he "intentionally overdosed" his wife, Michele MacNeill, after she had plastic surgery, because she had approached him about his alleged affair.

In a Provo, Utah, courtroom on Wednesday, all eyes were on Gypsy Willis, the woman who moved into the family's home as a nanny for his youngest daughter two weeks after Michele's death.  Investigators say a year-long affair with Willis was Martin MacNeill's motive in the murder of his wife.

Willis testified that she met MacNeil online in 2005 and started a sexual relationship one year later.  She also said he provided her with a credit card to help her get through nursing school.  She testified she never thought MacNeill would ever leave his wife for her.

After the death of his wife, MacNeill and Willis were both convicted of identity fraud and served years in prison for stealing the identity of MacNeill's 16-year-old adopted daughter.

"In this case, the motive will sit well with a lot of jurors because it gives them a hook which that they can justify a conviction," Attorney Ronald Richards told ABC News, noting that the state will need to show that there's some conduct on behalf of the defendant that links him to the murder.

In court Thursday, the prosecutor referred to Willis as the "nanny with benefits."

Shortly after her testimony, the judge ordered MacNeill to stand trial for first-degree murder, calling his actions surrounding his wife's death "evidence of a guilty mind."

An initial autopsy report stated Michele MacNeill died of natural causes.  However, authorities now believe Martin MacNeill drugged and drowned his wife, who was found unconscious in the bathtub.

MacNeill's frantic 911 call five years ago seems to indicate that he tried to save his wife after she drowned.

Susanne Gustin, MacNeill's defense attorney, says that he's no killer.  "He's done some bad things in his life, but does that mean he's a murderer?  No," she said.

MacNeill is expected to enter pleas to the murder charges on Oct. 22, at which time a trial date could be set.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rodney King's Drowning Death Ruled Accidental

Jerod Harris/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Rodney King's death last June has been ruled an accidental drowning.

King, the man whose brutal videotaped beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 touched off one of the worst race riots in U.S. history a year later, was found by his fiancee in a pool at the suburban L.A. home they shared.

At the time of his death, King was engaged to be married to Cynthia Kelly, one of the jurors from his civil trial.  Los Angeles Police said that Kelly tried to save King but he had passed away by the time she tried administering CPR.

It also appears that King's longtime problems with drugs and alcohol may have contributed to his death. The medical examiner said PCP, cocaine, marijuana and alcohol were all found in his body.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hero Surgeon Dies in Lake Michigan Rescue Despite Wife's Efforts To Save Him

Courtesy Dana Suskind(CHICAGO) -- A surgeon plunged into Lake Michigan's waters roiled by rip tides and rough waves to save two young boys, but died despite his wife's frantic efforts to revive him with mouth to mouth resuscitation, police and his wife said Monday.

Dr. Donald Liu, chief of pediatric surgery at the University of Chicago Medicine's Comer Children's Hospital, saw the two boys, who were friends of the family, swept up in the water. Despite protests from his own children, who were scared about the dangerous conditions, Liu went in to save them.

"You couldn't stop him," Liu's wife, Dr. Dana Suskind, told ABC News Monday. "He always did the right thing."

The two boys made it back to the shore near Cherry Beach in Chikaming, but Liu, 50, did not survive the 6-foot swells and treacherous currents.

"After he saved those boys and I couldn't see him, they finally found him and they pulled him from the water. I tried to do mouth-to-mouth, but I knew. And it was so painful," Suskind said between sobs.

The Coast Guard was responding to a call in a nearby area when they received the call to rescue Liu and were unable to get to him in time.

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Conditions were ripe for a dangerous rip tide, said Erik Leuenberger, chief of response for the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan. The wind Sunday was 18 knots, which Leuenberger said was about 21 mph.

"When we see a pretty strong wind come from the northwest, it's going to create a strong rip current condition in the southeast part of the lake," Leuenberger said.

Three people drowned on Lake Michigan Sunday, Leuenberger said.

"Everything [Liu] did, everything he talked about was always for the children," said Jeffrey Matthews, chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago Medicine. "And so the tragedy is that he died, of course, as a hero doing what he did every day, which was saving children."

Suskind, crying at times, gave the emotional interview the day after her husband drowned because she wanted her three children to read about how great their father was.

"He wore scrubs all the time. He would've gotten married in his scrubs if he could. He was so understated, but really such a huge stature," Suskind said.

Despite long days in the office, Liu would always come home ready to play with his children Genevieve, 13, Asher, 10, and Amelie, 7. He especially loved throwing the baseball around, a pastime that meant a lot to Asher.

Liu was a passionate man and when he knew something was right, he didn't hesitate. Suskind said Liu told her he loved her on their second date and they were engaged three months later. They were married for more than 17 years, having met during their residencies at the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. Both Liu and Suskind worked at the University of Chicago Medicine since 2001.

"He was known as a selfless individual who was completely devoted to children," Matthews said.

"People will tell you that he's the heart and soul of our pediatric programs," Matthews said. "And always going the extra mile. He was tireless. You know, the kind of guy would operate all day and all night and say, 'Where do we have to go next?' And he would do whatever the children needed."

Chikaming Township's Assistant Police Chief Todd Taylor said, "It was a unique circumstance because this was a brave guy going out to try to help some kids."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Killer Swan Blamed for Man’s Drowning

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- An angry swan is being blamed for knocking a man out of his kayak in a Chicago pond and then continuing to attack until the man drowned.

Anthony Hensley, 37, used the swans to keep geese away from properties and was in a kayak checking on the animals Sunday morning when one of the swans swam at him, causing him to fall out of his kayak into the water.

The swan reportedly continued to chase Hensley after he fell into the water, and by the time rescuers arrived he had drowned, The Chicago Sun Times reports.

Investigators believe Hensley had traveled too close to the swan or swan’s nesting area, prompting the attack.  Family and friends are puzzled.

“Maybe he didn’t fight back enough when the swan attacked him,” said father-in-law George Koutsogiannis. “Maybe he didn’t want to hurt the animal. I can’t understand how this was possible.”

A memorial fund has been established in Hensley’s name, who was a married father of two.  Donations can be sent to Amy Hensley, c/o Steuerle Funeral Home, 350 S. Ardmore Ave. Villa Park, IL 60181.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ex-Husband Accused of Strangling Wealth Manager Wife to Death 

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly two years after UBS wealth manager and mother Shele Danishefsky Covlin was found dead in a mysterious drowning at her New York City apartment, her estranged husband was named in a wrongful death lawsuit.

In an unexpected twist, former stock trader Rod Covlin, who has never faced criminal charges, now stands accused of strangling Danishefsky Covlin to death.

The Manhattan Public Administrator, a government office that handles estate disputes, filed a wrongful death civil suit this week, alleging that Rod Covlin, who was in the midst of a bitter divorce and custody battle with Danishefsky Covlin at the time of  her death, “intentionally, deliberately, willfully, wantonly, maliciously, brutally and without provocation or just cause did strangle, choke, strike, injure, assault, abuse, beat, and murder” his wife.

The civil suit, filed just before the statute of limitations was to expire, was intended to prevent Rod Covlin from inheriting a share of Danishefsky Covlin’s estate, which was estimated to be worth at least $1.5 million. Danishefsky Covlin had apparently intended to change her 2004 will, which left most of her estate to her husband, and instead leave it all to her two children, according to the New York Daily News. The public administrator was appointed executor of the estate, replacing Rod Colvin.

Rod Covlin had taken control of Danishefsky Covlin’s $1.6 million insurance policy payout that she’d intended for their children, according to the New York Post. He filed papers in Westchester County last April to become guardian of Danishefsky Covlin’s cashed-in policy, giving him the power to invest the money and apply to the court to withdraw cash on behalf of the couple’s children, Anna and Myles, who are set to inherit the money when they turn 18.

Shele Danishefsky Covlin, 47, was found dead inside her luxury Manhattan apartment on New Year’s Eve 2009. Her then-9-year-old daughter found her body face-down in the bathtub.

Police initially ruled it a case of accidental slip-and-fall, and Danishefsky Covlin’s body was buried the day after her death, in accordance with Orthodox Jewish custom. But it later came out that Danishefsky Covlin had reportedly told friends that her estranged husband had threatened to kill her, and that she feared for her life. Embroiled in a bitter custody battle, she obtained an order of protection against him.

Months later, her family had her body exhumed for an autopsy, and in July 2010, the medical examiner ruled her death a homicide by strangulation. Police opened an investigation, and while suspicion immediately fell on Rod Covlin, he was never formally charged.

Rod Covlin, who lived down the hall from Danishefsky Covlin at the time of her death, is currently living in Westchester County, N.Y., with their children. Danishefsky Covlin’s family is seeking custody.

Rod Colvin declined to comment to ABC News for this story. Danishefsky Covlin’s death remains under police investigation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NJ Cops Probe Suspected Sleepwalk Drowning Death

Comstock/Thinkstock(OAKLYN, N.J.) -- Police in south New Jersey believe a local woman might have drowned due to a sleepwalking incident.

The body of 55-year-old Oaklyn resident Charlene Ferraro was found in the Newton Lake Monday morning and authorities believe she might have been dead for at least a day.

The scenario cops pieced together was that Ferraro got out of bed sometime early Sunday and slept walked down her street onto a train trestle.  It was there that police say Ferraro probably lost her footing and fell into the lake where she drowned.

Cops were called onto the scene after a friend of Ferraro's said she found the dead woman's phone outside her apartment and became worried.

Adding to the mystery was that Ferraro's car had also sustained damage.  According to witnesses, she had driven it Saturday night before retiring but they weren't aware what had happened.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Massachusetts Pool Death: Lifeguard Said She Was On a Break

File photo. (JupiterImages/ RIVER, Mass.) -- A nine-year-old boy immediately told lifeguards at a Fall River, Mass., pool that a woman had gone underwater and not come up, but nothing was done and it was more than two days before her body was found.

According to the boy's mother, one of the lifeguards said she was on her break.

Marie Joseph, 36 went to the 12-foot-deep Vietnam Veterans Swimming Pool with a group of people on June 26. Her body was not discovered at the bottom of the public swimming pool in Fall River until the night of June 28.

On Monday, children swam in the pool unaware that her body was at the bottom.

According to law enforcement, Joseph slid down the pool's water slide with a neighbor's nine-year-old son, went under the water and did not surface.

Police said the boy notified two lifeguards separately immediately after the incident, around 2 p.m. Sunday, but no action was taken. Investigators are looking at surveillance video.

Autopsy results released from the Bristol County District Attorney's office Saturday say that Joseph accidentally drowned.

The boy's mother, Danyelle Hunt, 30, said in an interview Friday that her son keeps saying he wishes he were bigger so he could have saved the woman, according to the Boston Globe.

"He's sad because he saw the last moments of Marie's life, and when he tried to do something, nobody listened,'' Hunt said.

Hunt said her son went down a slide at the pool in front of Joseph, and Joseph grazed him on the head as she splashed down from the slide, according to the Boston Globe. Joseph attempted to apologize, but couldn't because she started sinking, according to the boy. He tried to grab her, but Joseph had already sunk to the bottom of the pool.

The boy immediately went to a lifeguard, who told him she was on break, Hunt said. He went to another lifeguard, who told him that they were going to do a pool check "in a minute.''

Although the pool was open to the public, Fall River Mayor William Flanagan said its permit had expired Dec. 31. Two health inspectors visited the pool Monday, Flanagan said, and one of them returned Tuesday and reported that the water was cloudy.

Flanagan has placed two inspectors on administrative leave, and the staff at the pool were suspended.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Casey Anthony Defense: Caylee Drowned in Family Pool

Orange County Government, Florida(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- Casey Anthony's defense team claimed Tuesday that Caylee Anthony drowned in the family's swimming pool on June 16, 2008, weeks before she was reported missing.

"How in the world can a mother wait 30 days before ever reporting her child missing, that's insane, that's bizarre...the answer is actually relatively simple. She never was missing. Caylee Anthony died on June 16, 2008 when she drowned in her family's swimming pool," said Jose Baez, Anthony's defense attorney, who also claimed that Casey Anthony's father, George Anthony, found the body and indicated that he helped dispose of the body.

"What makes this case unique…is the family that it happened to. You will hear stories about a family that is incredibly dysfunctional, you will hear about ugly things, secret things, things that people don't speak about," Baez said.

Anthony's defense team alleges that she was sexually abused by her father and brother and hid her daughter's death like she hid the secret of her alleged sexual abuse.

"On June 16, 2008, after Caylee died, Casey did what she's been doing all her life…hiding her pain, going into that dark corner and pretending that she does not live in the situation that she's living in... it all began when Casey was 8 years old and her father came into her room and began to touch her inappropriately and it escalated," Baez said.

The defense lawyer said that Casey Anthony's actions were affected by the abuse she suffered as a child. The attorney said, "She's not guilty of murder... This is not a murder case. This is a sad, tragic accident that snowballed out of control."

Casey Anthony, 25, began crying almost from the first moments of her murder trial as the prosecutor laid out a string of elaborate lies that she allegedly used to avoid her parents for a month and pretend that her 2-year-old daughter Caylee was still alive.

The opening statements began in an Orlando courtroom Tuesday, nearly three years after Caylee was reported missing in the summer of 2008. Anthony, 25, faces a battery of charges including first degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, aggravated child abuse and providing false information to law enforcement.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Say Mother Drove into New York River, Drowning Herself and Three Children

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEWBURGH, N.Y.) -- A New York mother drove her minivan into the Hudson River Tuesday night, drowning herself and three of her children on board, according to police.

Authorities said the mother drove the vehicle off a dock in Newburgh, about 60 miles north of New York City.  When rescue teams later recovered the van from the river, all the victims -- the mother, her two sons, ages 5 and 2, and her 11-month-old daughter -- were found dead inside.  Their names have not yet been released.

According to the Times Herald-Record, Newburgh officials were alerted to the incident by a 10-year-old boy, who they believe was the woman's fourth child and let out of the vehicle before it submerged.  The newspaper says the boy appeared at a nearby fire station and told firefighters what had happened.

Earlier, police had responded to a report of a domestic dispute.  They believe it may be linked to the incident, the newspaper reported.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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