BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A wrongful death complaint has been filed against the owner of the Park at Buckingham Apartments in the drowning of a 9-year-old girl.
Rebecca Mayela was found floating at the bottom of the pool at 7:30 in the morning on September 17, 2016. Rebecca’s mother Naomi Kidimbu said in a statement.
“My children and I are heartbroken and still grieving for Rebecca. We are relying on our faith to help us work through this loss. I’d warn any parent that there may be dangerous areas for children, like this pool, where you live and you too may have relied on your landlord to make the property safe for our children. I’d say to anyone, if you see an area where you live that is not a safe place, speak up. Make sure the people who maintain the apartment where you live know about it and, if it does not get fixed, go to your local health department and make sure they know of your concerns.”
According to the lawsuit, Rebecca wandered out of her home while her family slept. The complaint states “After leaving her apartment, Rebecca walked toward the small pool across the parking lot and just a few hundred feet away from her front door. At the time, the pool had been closed for the season and its gates should have been locked and secure so that no one could gain entry.”
Don McKenna is an attorney at Hare Wynn Newell and Newton, the firm representing Naomi Kidimbu in the lawsuit against. Goff Capital Partners, LLC; the Habitat Company, LLC; Crescent Real Estate Holdings, LLC Blue Rock Partners, LLC; Boulder Birmingham, LLC; Riley Security, LLC and Justin Brown.
“We hope that by bringing this situation to light that Rebecca’s life, the loss of her life will not be in vain,” McKenna said. “That it will prevent another child from drowning by getting the word out, bringing these companies to justice who have come into our state and just allowed deplorable condition and unsafe conditions at their pools to exist and continue to exist even after Rebecca’s death.”
John Grant with Boulder Birmingham, the company that owns the Park at Buckingham told CBS42 that “as you know a lawsuit in the works and it is our company policy not to comment matters while under litigation”. The company lists an address in Montgomery.
CBS 42 obtained copies of the Answer to the lawsuit filed by Riley Security, LLC.
“Shortly after we filed the lawsuit, in fact the same week we went back out to look to see what they had done with the gate and found they had dug up the pool and filled it in,” McKenna said. “After being on notice from us not to destroy any evidence.”