OSCEOLA – What happened the day a 23-month-old South Bend girl nearly drowned?
Dawn Nemeth was Skyler Bullocks' foster mother and she was in charge of Skyler the day she was pulled from a pool.
She died from her injuries September 15.
Skyler was 3 days old when Dawn Nemeth became her foster mother.
Skyler was in foster care until the end of June when her biological mother, Johnanna Bullocks, regained custody of her.
We brought you an interview with Bullocks on Monday. She's calling for charges in Skyler's death.
Both women consider Skyler their daughter and both say they love her.
Dawn Nemeth says what happened was an awful, tragic accident.
"This was last Halloween she was in her bunny costume," says Nemeth looking at a poster on her living room wall filled with pictures of Skyler.
Every where you turn, Nemeth's home is filled with memories of her former foster daughter.
"She was scared to death of those goats 'cause she thought they were gonna get her," says Nemeth pointing to a picture of a trip they took to the zoo.
Nemeth says even after Skyler's biological mother, Johnanna, regained custody, she often had Skyler.
"I had her all the time still. She would stay the night and she went to my mom's house to be babysat every day because I work."
And that's where Skyler was August 2, at Nemeth's mom home on Beverly Court where she ran a day care.
Nemeth and her mother live a few houses from each other.
"My brother called and asked if something had come in the mail and would she go out and check. So she went out front and checked the mail and that is when we think Skyler got out the back door."
"...and then within minutes she found Skyler in the pool," says Nemeth wiping away tears.
Skyler was unconscious, suffered major brain damage and later died.
At the time she fell into the pool, police say there were 9 kids at the house, more than allowed by law.
"Department of Child Services has been at my mom's house. They have done home visits. They knew she had a pool." Nemeth says CASA, Court Appointed Advocates for Children, also did visits at both homes.
But the question remains -- how did Skyler get outside?
"You know those hooks that go into the eye, she has one of those on the top of the door in the back. That is always locked. What do you think happened then? I don't know, she had big kids that day."
Nemeth says since the accident, her mom has installed additional safety locks and gates to prevent other children from getting near the pool which has been drained, covered and likely will never be used again.
"We don't want the pool anymore. It would never be an enjoyable thing again."
"She (Skyler) was my reason for living, so getting out of bed now is hard," says a tearful Nemeth.
On Monday, WSBT spoke with Skyler's biological mom who admits Nemeth and her family loved Skyler and were good to her. But Johnanna Bullocks is still calling for charges in her daughter's death.
"She needs to be charged with something. If it were me, the day it happened I probably would have been locked up," says Bullocks.
"I don't expect for Johnanna to forgive, because it was her daughter. What would you ask her to do,? asked WSBT Reporter Denise Bohn.
"I just don't want my mom to go to jail. I've already had enough happen that I don't want to lose my mom, too."
Nemeth says she had several foster kids before Skyler but now she has no interest in ever being a foster parent again.
And Nemeth says that her mother is still babysitting two children, one is a relative.
Nemeth says the state licensing bureau has been to the house and told her that as long as she keeps her numbers below 5, she can still run a home daycare center.
Nemeth's mother would like to comment about what happened but has been advised by lawyers not to talk.
And that's because Nemeth says Skyler's biological mother has filed a civil suit against her.
In the meantime, the St. Joseph County prosecutor's office says a decision on whether or not to file charges in Skyler's case should come this week.