SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Two toddlers who fell into a San Jose daycare’s pool and drowned were identified on Wednesday.
Payton Cobb, 1, of Hollister, and Lillian Hanan, 1, of San Jose, died Monday, according to the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Payton and Lillian were two of three young children who fell into the pool at Happy Happy Daycare on Fleetwood Drive and were rushed to a hospital. The third child survived.
The San Jose Police Department is investigating circumstances around how the girls were able to crawl, toddle, or walk through a gate and access the home daycare’s backyard pool without daycare workers noticing or stopping them.
Happy Happy Daycare was inspected by state authorities as recently as last month.
According to the California Department of Social Services’ Community Care Licensing division, licensing program analysts toured the home in 2020 for a pre-licensing inspection. They ordered the daycare to make changes to the pool area and ensure that it was secured by a fence. A license was granted to the facility after an inspection in 2021.
CDSS reports show that most of the children who went to the daycare were infants, babies, and pre-school aged. The CDSS facility evaluation report identifies the daycare’s owners as Shahin Shenas and Nina Fathizadeh.
The most recent visit happened on September 13, 2023, when two licensing program analysts “conducted an unannounced case management during another visit and met with Shahin Shenas and Nina Fathizadeh. LPAs also observed two infants, three preschool day care children, and licensees’ adult assistant, Ivonne Vanessa Tovar, present in the home during today’s inspection. A deficiency was cited (and) appeal rights were given to licensee.”
Happy Happy Daycare was cited for not documenting how often workers supervised and checked on infants while they were sleeping in a napping room. No citations were issued in connection to the pool during the Sept. 13 inspection.
The citation states, “Licensees did not maintain documentation of sleep check for C3 and C4 which posed a potential health, safety or personal rights risk to persons in care. Licensees will submit infant safe sleep checks every 15-minutes.”
An inspection conducted on January 19, 2023 describes the layout of the home’s backyard and pool area. The pool was considered an “off limits” area for children who attended the daycare.
The January facility evaluation report states, “Backyard is fully fenced. There is a pool that is fully fenced within the backyard. The fence is least five feet high and is constructed so that the fence does not obscure the pool from view. The fence is made from a hard mesh material. The gate swings away from the pool, self-closes and has a self-latching device, located no more than six inches from the top of the gate.”
Distraught parents picked up their young children from Happy Happy Daycare on Monday morning while police officers and firefighters converged on the scene.
SJPD Officer Steve Aponte said, “This is the type of call that is the worst that a parent could receive.”
When a KRON4 news reporter knocked on Tuesday afternoon, no one answered the front door of the Fleetwood Drive home.
Police were initially called to the daycare at 9:05 a.m. Monday to assist San Jose Fire Department paramedics. “SJPD was notified that several juveniles had fallen into a pool. Medical personnel were summoned, and three juveniles were transported to local hospitals in critical status. Despite life saving efforts, two of the juveniles were pronounced deceased at the hospitals,” police wrote.
The SJPD Homicide Unit and Santa Clara County District Attorneys Office are conducting a joint investigation into the circumstances of the drownings. Aponte said no charges have been filed yet.