GIRL, 9, DIES IN SHOWER HORROR
HOSE TANGLES & CHOKES HER IN B’KLYN
By JOHN DOYLE and PHILIP MESSING, NY Post
A young Brooklyn girl suffered a mysterious and bizarre death while showering, after apparently strangling herself accidentally with the hose of her handheld shower nozzle.
Gabriella Allias, 9, was found on her knees in the shower just past 9 p.m. Thursday, with the hose wound around her neck, distraught relatives said. Her desperate mother tried to perform CPR, but it was too late.
"She was only 9," sobbed mom Lizbeth yesterday, as cops escorted her and husband Frank, a city bus driver, to the 66th Precinct for questioning. "Nine years old – my baby! I don’t know what happened. How can it happen?"
Police don’t suspect foul play, but also haven’t ruled out the possibility of a suicide – not because any evidence points in that direction, but because the accident was so bizarre, said a source.
"The mom says she was tangled up in it [the hose] and there’s no reason to disbelieve it," the source added.
The city Medical Examiner’s Office is continuing to investigate the cause of death.
The fourth-grader, who lived with her mom and stepdad in an apartment on 60th Street, was in good health and high spirits, said her aunt, Maria Reyes. She was excited for school the next day because she was due to eat lunch with her teacher as a reward for filling up her "star chart," Reyes said.
"This is not happening – this is like a bad dream," she mourned. "She was such a sweet little girl, very smart."
Gabriella had tried to take a shower earlier but found the water too cold, so she put on a towel and joined her family watching TV in the living room, said grandfather Rudy Reyes. After her mom checked the water and found it hot enough, the little girl went in for her shower.
Ten minutes passed, and her mom, noticing the lights and TV were off in the living room, opened the bathroom door to check up on her daughter – and found the girl kneeling with the cord wrapped around her neck.
"It wasn’t tied, it was just around her neck," Reyes said. "She got hung up in there."
The girl wasn’t fully kneeling on the tub but she wasn’t hanging either, he said. Her fingers were lodged between the cord and her neck, as though she had been trying to pull it off.
"The bottom line is she did not die because she hung herself with a shower hose, but by accident," he said. "Maybe she got dizzy and slipped. She was a healthy girl."
The U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission records a small number of deaths from young children slipping in the bathtub each year, but officials were unaware of any incidents involving accidental strangulation with a shower cord, said spokeswoman Arlene Flecha.