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8-Year-Old Girl Found Dead Inside Houston Hotel Pool Pipe Hours After She Was Reported Missing

Detectives said the child was swimming "in a lazy river style swimming pool” at the hotel on Northwest Freeway when she disappeared Saturday evening

  • An 8-year-old girl died Saturday after she went swimming at a Houston hotel

  • The child was reported missing around 5:45 p.m. local time and found dead about six hours later, according to police

  • The pool has since been shut down

A pool at a Houston hotel has been shut down after an 8-year-old girl was found dead after going swimming there over the weekend.

Detectives said the child “was swimming with other family members in a lazy river style swimming pool” at the hotel on Northwest Freeway when she disappeared Saturday evening, according to a news release from the Houston Police Department.

The child was reported missing around 5:45 p.m. local time, and her body was found “inside a large pipe in the pool” around 11:30 p.m. that same night. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

“This is one of the saddest ones we've seen in a good while,” said Tim Miller, founder of Texas EquuSearch, according to ABC affiliate KTRK-TV.

The child has been identified by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Science as Aliyah Jaico, according to USA Today. Her preliminary cause of death is "drowning and mechanical asphyxia." according to the office, which said her death appeared to be accidental.

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Miller said the child appeared to have been pulled into the pipe due to some sort of malfunction that seemingly caused it to pull water in rather than push it out.

"Many of us had to wipe tears from our eyes," Miller said, recalling the moments after the girl's body was discovered.

The pool at the DoubleTree Hotel in northwest Houston has since been shut down after inspectors found a number of violations, according to a Houston Health Department document shared by NBC affiliate KPRC-TV. The pool will remain shuttered “until all violations are corrected and pool passes reinspection,” per the document.

The hotel declined KTRK-TV's request for comment, but confirmed the pool was temporarily closed.

The hotel did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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According to the March 25 document from the Houston Health Department, an environmental investigator observed numerous violations, including a lack of “safety features” in the area, such as proper signage.

The investigator also said the small pool "has 32 inch channel drains on the walls" that do not have "a valid document stating their function, date of installation and date of expiration."

The pool area will be reinspected on April 22, per the document.

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Police said they are “awaiting autopsy results” and that an investigation is ongoing.

"I never, ever thought in a million years it was going to end up as bad as it ended up,” Miller said, per KTRK-TV. “There is a grieving family out there, and it is going to be a long, painful healing process over this one.”

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