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Pool where woman died had lapsed permit

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — The public swimming pool where a woman’s body may have gone unnoticed by lifeguards, health inspectors and swimmers for more than two days had an expired permit.

Investigators were poring over surveillance video and conducting interviews as they tried to figure out what happened to 36-year-old Marie Joseph. The state medical examiner completed an autopsy, but the findings haven’t been made public.

“The facts appear to indicate that a woman was in the water for a number of days and not noticed by staff, patrons or other inspections that may have taken place,” State Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan, whose department oversees state-run pools, said Thursday.

He said he found the possibility disturbing and “a breakdown systematically somewhere.” Fall River Mayor William Flanagan said the pool’s permit had expired on Dec. 31.

Joseph had gone to Veterans Memorial Pool on Sunday with a group of friends. Her body was found Tuesday night, when youngsters jumped over a fence for a clandestine swim, police said.

Authorities said she had not been reported missing. Her friends said they thought she simply walked away from the pool. Her boyfriend’s calls went unreturned, but he thought she wanted to be alone.

After the discovery, Massachusetts officials closed 24 state-run deep-water swimming pools and suspended staff at the Fall River pool. Two Fall River inspectors also were placed on paid leave.

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