Mom and daughter charged with toddlers’ drowning deaths at in-home daycare

SAN JOSE, CA – Two women, the owners and operators of a residential daycare in California, have been arrested following the tragic drowning of two toddlers earlier this month. Nina Fathizadeh, 41, and Shahin Gheblehshenas, 64, have been charged with felony child endangerment resulting in death. They also face charges of criminal negligence, as reported by local authorities and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.

The pair managed the Happy Happy Daycare in San Jose, where the incident occurred. On the morning of October 2, police responded to a wellness check after Fathizadeh called 911 to report a drowning at the licensed home daycare on Fleetwood Avenue.

Investigations revealed that at the time of the incident, there were four children present, with another expected to arrive shortly. Unfortunately, only one caregiver was on site due to a daycare worker being unavailable, and Gheblehshenas had gone to another daycare facility.

The District Attorney’s Office detailed that while Fathizadeh was preparing breakfast, she placed one child in a crib and allegedly allowed three other children unsupervised access to the rear patio play area, which was located in the backyard adjacent to a pool enclosed by a five-foot fence. However, investigators found that the gate to the pool had been propped open for watering plants, which allowed the toddlers to enter the pool area.

It wasn’t until at least five minutes later that Fathizadeh entered the yard and discovered one child floating in the pool. In her attempts to perform CPR, her brother, who was at home and alerted to the emergency, found two other children unconscious in the pool.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen emphasized the responsibility of caregivers to closely watch over young children. State officials have suspended the daycare’s license following the incident.

The suspects voluntarily surrendered to the police on October 13 and are scheduled to be arraigned on December 6. The victims were two girls aged 16 and 18 months old. A third child, aged 2, was left in critical condition but is expected to make a full recovery.