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Queens woman who drowned in Dix Hills backyard pool was a good swimmer, aunt says

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

The Queens woman found drowned in a Dix Hills backyard swimming pool Sunday was a good swimmer and a former buyer and seller in Manhattan's 47th Street Diamond District, a family member said Monday.

Rajkumari Motwani, 55, of Rego Park was pronounced dead by authorities soon after her body was discovered at about 2:40 p.m. Sunday in the deep end of an in-ground swimming pool by residents cleaning up from a party. The Dix Hills backyard had been the site of an elaborate Hawaiian-themed party Saturday night, where neighbors said attendees wore leis, swam and took hula dancing lessons.

Motwani's aunt, Renuka Bherwani, said she was shocked that her niece had drowned and was still unsure about exactly what happened. She said she has not yet spoken to authorities.

"She was very good in swimming," said Bherwani, 78, of Flushing, Queens. "We had a swimming pool. She was comfortable."

Suffolk Police said Sunday the partygoers were cooperative and investigators did not find any evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

A.J. Carter, a spokesman for the Town of Huntington, said the pool permit was approved in 1988 and the town has not issued any citations associated with the drowning. "At this point, it's in the hands of the police," Carter said Monday.

Motwani was a divorced mother of a grown son who lives in South Carolina, Bherwani said. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

A native of India, Motwani graduated from a Mumbai college in 1976, followed her husband to the United States in late 1983 and soon after gave birth to their son, Bherwani said.

Motwani worked with one of her brothers who owned a diamond store in Astoria for more than a decade. When her brother died, she took ownership of the store, then sold it about two years ago, Bherwani said. She also worked for several years in Manhattan's Diamond District.

When her mother died in 2013, Motwani stopped working and relocated to India, then to Hong Kong, where another brother lived. She attempted to re-establish business relationships there to get back into the diamond business, and then went to South Carolina to be with her son and his family, Bherwani said.

Motwani's adult daughter died in 2012 from a brain hemorrhage.

When Motwani attended the pool party, she had only been back in New York for about a month.

"She was a fun-loving person," Bherwani said. "She used to like parties and everything; that's why she was there in that party."

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