Co-owners of San Jose's Happy Happy Daycare arrested, charged in drowning deaths of 2 toddlers

Lauren Martinez Image
Saturday, October 14, 2023
Co-owners of SJ day care arrested, charged in drowning deaths
San Jose's Happy Happy Daycare owners Nina Fathizadeh, Shahin Gheblehshenas arrested, charged in drowning deaths of 2 toddlers

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A mother and daughter who co-own a San Jose daycare center where two toddlers drowned have been arrested and charged, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Nina Fathizadeh, 31, and her mother Shahin Gheblehshenas, 64, surrendered to police at SJPD headquarters on Friday.

Authorities say Fathizadeh nor her mother, nor any other adult were watching the three young children at Happy Happy Daycare when they fell or jumped into the pool on Oct. 2.

According to the district attorney's office, Gheblehshenas had gone to another unlicensed daycare that morning, leaving four children under the care of her daughter. While Fathizadeh was making breakfast, she left one child in a crib and let the three others into the rear patio play area unsupervised and out of her sight. Investigators say five minutes later Fathizadeh discovered one of the children floating in the pool. As she performed CPR, her brother - now at home - found the two other children, under two years old, floating unconscious in the deep end.

RELATED: 1-year-old girls ID'd as children who drowned in San Jose day care pool, coroner says

Two of the toddlers, Payton Cobb from Hollister and Lilian Hanan from San Jose, were later pronounced dead. The third child was left in critical condition but is expected to make a full recovery.

Investigators say it was determined that a propped open pool gate allowed the toddlers to enter the pool. They say neither owner had checked the gate before the children were let into the backyard despite it being propped open before to water plants.

Detectives outlined a timeline of events:

  • On Sunday, Oct. 1, an employee called out of work.
  • On Monday, Oct. 2, the daughter was the only caretaker since her mother was at another day care.
  • According to the investigation report, the mother's husband normally waters plants by the pool.
  • It stated, "While doing so, he propped open the pool gate with a clothes hanging rack. He failed to close the gate after watering the plants."
  • The allegations say while the daughter was making breakfast, she let the girls and a 2-year-old boy into the rear patio play area -- unsupervised and out of her sight and with access to the opened gate.
  • At least five minutes later is when she discovered the boy unconscious in the pool and then called for help for the girls.

Fathizadeh and Gheblehshenas have been charged with felony child endangerment and will be arraigned on Dec. 6.

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