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Mother’s horror as her two children die using scuba tanks in friend’s swimming pool

Suzie Dudas with her two children, Zale, nine, and Saxon, seven (Suzie Dudas / SWNS)
Suzie Dudas with her two children, Zale, nine, and Saxon, seven (Suzie Dudas / SWNS)

A mother has spoken of her horror after her two children drowned using scuba tanks in a friend’s pool.

Suzie Dudas’s two children, Zale, nine, and Saxon, seven, had gone with their father to a friend’s home after school to play.

During the play-date they tried scuba diving in the pool but their mother says the tanks had helium in instead of oxygen and they lost consciousness in the water. A mix of helium and oxygen is used by deep-sea divers.

When her ex-husband, who is a scuba diver, looked in the pool, he saw the children lying at the bottom and pulled them out to start CPR.

Ms Dudas received a call from her ex-husband and rushed to the hospital. Efforts to resuscitate the children were unsuccessful and Zale and Saxon died four days later on 27 April, 2021.

The 46 year-old mother, a farmer from Palm Beach, Florida, said: "You can’t put into words the upset, the anger, and the disbelief.

"The guilt that you weren’t there for your children, that you allowed it to happen, that you helped them to get into bathing suits."

Describing the moment she found out what had happened, she said: "When I picked up he wasn’t on the line but I could hear them in the background shout “start CPR”.

"I hung up and I called my friend who owned the house, I told her my children are drowning in her pool and to call 911. Then I just started driving."

"I knew but I didn’t want to accept - it was unreal. To see how dilated my children’s’ eyes were. They didn’t even look like themselves."

In May 2022, the Florida State Attorney’s Office said it would not be filing charges in what it called a "heartbreaking tragedy". Ms Dudas is calling for the investigation to be reopened and sharing her story on social media - @justiceforzaleandsaxon.

Florida State Attorney Thomas Bakkedahl, said: "I can confirm that our office has conducted an exhaustive review of the Sheriff’s comprehensive investigation along with additional information and materials provided by the mother of Zale and Saxon.

"After significant legal research conducted by my Chief Assistant and one of my major crime prosecutors, it was determined that the State could not, in good faith, seek criminal charges in this heartbreakingly tragic event.

"Stated quite simply, the law and the facts prohibit a criminal prosecution in this instance. These findings and conclusions were communicated to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office and they have concurred with our decision.

"At an extensive in-person meeting, our findings and conclusions were communicated to the children’s mother as well as her civil attorneys. During this meeting, my assistants answered questions and addressed concerns of the attorneys.

"Our hearts go out to all those who loved Zale and Saxon and while we completely understand their desire that someone be “held accountable,” unfortunately that accountability cannot be found within the criminal justice system."