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A Toddler Drowned in a Day Care Pool. Her Twin Just Died

Tragedy in Tennessee at unlicensed child-care facility
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2018 7:58 AM CDT
Awful.   (Getty Images/leah613)

(Newser) – A Tennessee toddler drowned in a day care's swimming pool Friday, and now her twin brother has also succumbed to his injuries, per the Knoxville News Sentinel. The little boy, identified by People as Elijah Orejuela, died Sunday after two days on life support; his sister, Elyssa Orejuela, died the same day a worker at Om Baby found them both in the deep end of the pool at the day care facility, which was run out of a home in West Knoxville. "It is with much heartbreak that I tell you that Elijah has gone to be with his sister," the twins' mother, identified by Fox News as registered nurse Amelia Wieand, wrote on Facebook Tuesday. "They were formed in my womb and grew together. She was his other half. They were soulmates." Per the Sentinel, Om Baby is registered to a Jen Salley, though she's said not to own the home where the day care was located.

A Care.com listing that's since been deleted showed that Salley, who also offered swimming lessons and was reportedly certified in CPR and first aid, had been offering child care since 2010. People reports Om Baby had had complaints lodged against it in the past—including that there were too many kids in the home, per Tennessee Department of Human Services records cited by the Sentineland two months ago it was told to cease operations due to not being licensed. It's not yet clear whether criminal charges will be filed in the twins' deaths. A GoFundMe set up for the family has so far raised more than $35,000 for medical bills and funeral expenses, and Wieand noted on Facebook that Elijah's organs had been donated "to prevent another family from suffering this immeasurable pain." (Read more Tennessee stories.)

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