An accidental drowning involving two toddlers has put a dark cloud over two families and a Paulding County neighborhood.
"I couldn't even imagine losing one of mine," said Joseph Pinper, a Paulding County homeowner.
Police in the city of Dallas said the two 5-year-old girls, Sophia Juarez and Mia Penoyer, drowned early Sunday afternoon.
"Mia's grandmother was hired by the Juarez family in Dallas as a housekeeper and sort of a caregiver for their children. Mia was visiting her grandmother and visiting Sophia because they are little friends," said Sgt. Bill Gorman, with the Dallas Police Department.
Gorman said Mia's grandmother, whose name has not been released yet, was left in charge of the girls when Sophia's parents went to the store.
"The caregiver heard the kids playing in the upstairs bedroom and shouted at them to come downstairs because she just cleaned the floor. She then received a text message to make a personal phone call and she made a call," Gorman said.
Detectives said 45 minutes later, Sophia's parents returned home.
"They saw the caregiver coming out of the house on the phone and asked where their daughter was. She indicated she believed they were upstairs. The Juarezes went upstairs looking for their daughter but couldn't find her," Gorman said.
Gorman said a few minutes later the girls were found.
"The 10-year-old son of the Juarez family went out in the backyard and found both little girls at the bottom of the swimming pool," Gorman said.
Police said the caretaker will be charged with reckless conduct, which is a misdemeanor.
"I'm a father and when I was at the hospital with those two beautiful girls in that condition, it just tore my heart out," Gorman said.
"All I would say is the grace of God be with them all," Pinper said.
Gorman said the district attorney will determine whether more serious charges will be filed.
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