Lawrence toddler and nanny in pool tragedy


The drowning deaths of a three-year-old girl and her nanny in a backyard pool in the Lawrence neighborhood of Sutton Park left the Five Towns community reeling in sorrow last week.

Police believe that Naama Markovits a"h was being held by Lorena Canales-Mejia, 32, when the nanny lost her footing as they drifted near the deep end of the pool.

The toddler's five-year-old brother discovered the tragedy, according to Nassau County Police Detective Lt. Kevin

Smith, and ran to get help from a painter who was working on the property on Beechwood Drive.

"He rushed out to the pool, he got the child out first, then he got the sitter out, and then he tried to perform rescue breathing on both of them and at the same time make the call to 911," Lt. Smith said. "The man was in a very hard place, you have two people that needed his help, and he had to make a phone call to get additional help."

The painter's cell phone was destroyed by his plunge into the pool and he had to run to the house phone to make the call. Arriving police officers began CPR and both victims were rushed to St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway at about 2:45 p.m. where both were later pronounced dead.

Naama was the daughter of Yehuda and Cindy Markovits. She attended nursery at Bnot Shulamith where her grandmother, Ellen Basch, is the longtime head of the drama program.

The funeral for Naama was held the following day at nearby Yeshiva Shor Yoshuv.