6-year-old girl gets past locked gate, drowns in neighbor's pool

GASTONIA, N.C. (WTVD) -- A 6-year-old North Carolina girl drowned in her neighbor's above-ground pool Saturday.

The pool was in a Gastonia backyard that was secured by a locked pool gate.

However, investigators said Za'myah Judge stacked several chairs against that gate so she could climb over it and get into the water. The girl's younger brother said he saw her get into the water; he ran to get help when she got into the water but didn't resurface.

"I never even knew this man had a pool next door," Judge's mother said in an interview with local ABC affiliate WSOC. "Why? Why? She still had her whole life ahead of her; she was 6 years old. She was pure; she was innocent."

Judge's mother said Za'myah slipped away while she was cleaning up the house and getting things ready to take her children to a community pool.

"No one will ever take her place and life will never be the same without her," she said.
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