Gastonia police say girl, 6, drowned after stacking chairs to climb into neighbor’s pool

GASTONIA, N.C. — Gastonia police are investigating after a 6-year-old girl drowned in her neighbor’s pool, they said.

Officers said they were called at about 4:30 p.m. Saturday to a home on South Emerson Street after a child reportedly drowned in a backyard pool.

Police said family members pulled the girl, Za’myah Judge, out of the above-ground pool and attempted life-saving measures before first responders arrived. When they arrived, first responders took over her care and took Judge to the hospital, where she was confirmed to have died.

Police believe Judge stacked several chairs against her next-door neighbor’s locked pool gate, climbed over the gate and then got into the water, they said. Officers said her younger brother told investigators he saw her get into the water. He said he ran to get help after he didn’t see her resurface.

There is no foul play suspected in Judge’s death, investigators said.

‘I never even knew this man had a pool next door’

Judge’s mother is heartbroken about her death.

“Why? Why? She still had her whole life ahead of her, she was 6 years old, she was pure, she was innocent,” Christian Cash said.

The 6-year-old disappeared while her mother was straightening up the house and preparing to take her children to a community pool, but she said Judge, who her family lovingly called Boo Boo, couldn’t wait.

Christian Cash said she lived next door to her neighbor’s pool for six months.

“I never even knew this man had a pool next door,” she said.

Now, it’s all she thinks about.

“It was just like, just like that,” she said, snapping her fingers.

Cash’s daughter had just finished eating lunch Saturday. As she headed to her room, the mother and daughter exchanged their last words.

“She said ‘Alright I’m done. I love you.’”

Then, Judge and and her 5-year-old brother slipped outside. Cash said she didn’t know her youngest children were gone until the 5-year-old raced back to his mom to tell her what happened.

“No one will ever take her place and life will never be the same without her,” Cash said.

(WATCH BELOW: CMPD investigating drowning death of 3-year-old in east Charlotte pond)