Suffolk police identify Queens woman found dead in Dix Hills backyard pool

Emergency personnel and members of the Medical Examiner's Emergency personnel and members of the Medical Examiner's office investigate the home on Sunday, July 13, 2014, where a woman drowned the night before on Polo Street in Dix Hills. Photo Credit: Steven Sunshine

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A Queens woman was found drowned Sunday in a backyard pool in Dix Hills by residents cleaning up after a party the victim attended Saturday night, Suffolk police said.

It was the second reported drowning call Sunday in Suffolk and Nassau counties.

At about 12:15, Nassau police responded to a drowning call in Lawrence after a 2-year-old boy was pulled from an indoor pool, police said.

He was taken to a local hospital where he was listed in serious condition Sunday night, police said.

Suffolk homicide Det. Sgt. John Best identified the Dix Hills drowning victim as Rajkumari Motwani, 55, of Rego Park, Queens, a friend of the party host. Her family could not be reached for comment.

Best said Suffolk police received a 911 call about 2:39 p.m. Sunday reporting a body in the pool.

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First responders pulled the body from the deep end of the in-ground pool, which was between 3 and 8 feet deep. Motwani was pronounced dead at the scene, Best said. He said the partygoers were cooperative and the initial investigation indicates nothing criminal or suspicious.

Residents of the home -- where neighbors said a birthday party took place with a Hawaiian luau theme, replete with hula dancing lessons, a DJ and leis adorning guests -- declined to comment. Several people were seen outside the home Sunday afternoon crying, hugging and speaking with investigators.

Motwani's body was transported to the Suffolk County medical examiner's office.

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Pat Flanagan, 51, who lives two houses down, said her husband and two daughters attended the party.

"It was a very nice party," said Flanagan, whose husband told her there were hula dancing lessons and lots of people swimming. "It was loud, but it wasn't a wild party."

But, she said, her husband told her the pool was dark and without a light.

"There were a lot of people," said Flanagan. "And the pool had no lights. . . . You don't think you have to pay attention with adults, but you always need to pay attention with a pool."

Angela Ratti, who lives next door to the home, said a woman who lives there had invited her, her husband and some other neighbors to her birthday party.

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"They just had a big party last night. Oh my God!" said Ratti, 72, adding that the party ended at about 11:30 p.m. but she did not attend. Ratti said she doesn't know the family well but waves when she sees them.

"This is very sad," she said.

With Laura Figueroa

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