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Questions still linger in drowning deaths of siblings at Brandon hotel pool

Kesha Greco, 17, was pulled from the bottom of the pool at the Clarion Inn in Brandon. Sebastiano, 12, was found near the side.
Kesha Greco, 17, was pulled from the bottom of the pool at the Clarion Inn in Brandon. Sebastiano, 12, was found near the side.
Published Jun. 22, 2017

BRANDON — The last time their parents saw them, siblings Kesha and Sebastiano were walking together to the pool at the Clarion Inn and Conference Center about 2:45 p.m. Sunday.

A short time later, brother and sister were found unresponsive, 17-year-old Kesha at the bottom of the 8.5-foot deep pool and her brother, 12, face down in the water with his arm resting on the pool deck, according to case summaries released Wednesday by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office.

The brief reports offer a few new details in the mysterious double-drowning of the Texas siblings who traveled to Tampa with their parents for a church function.

Parents Kelly and Monique Greco have not spoken publicly about their loss. They told Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office investigators that both children could tread water but were not strong swimmers.

It's unclear whether one sibling may have been trying to help the other.

Bystanders found Kesha at the bottom of the pool, pulled her out of the water, started CPR and called 911 at 3:19 p.m., according to the case summary.

An off-duty physician found Sebastiano, his body vertical in the water, face down and his left arm resting on the pool deck, the record states. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene after Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crews arrived at the hotel at 9331 E Adamo Drive.

Kesha had no pulse when brought to Tampa General Hospital. Doctors were able to restore a pulse but she suffered severe brain trauma from a lack of oxygen and never regained consciousness, the record states. She was pronounced dead at 11:40 a.m. Tuesday.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cristal Nuñez said detectives are still investigating. No foul play is suspected. She declined to release additional information.

The hotel is a franchised location of Choice Hotels. Clarion Inn general manager Melissa Bathe released a statement Wednesday through a publicist.

"This is a tragic accident," she said, "and at this time the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident and we are fully cooperating with the Sheriff's Office. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and everyone else affected by this tragedy."

A sign hanging on a gate leading to the pool Wednesday said it was temporarily closed. Another sign listing the pool rules noted that no lifeguard is on duty.

State law does not require hotel pools to have a lifeguard but public pools must have safety equipment to help with a rescue: at least one shepherd's hook securely attached to a pole at least 16 feet in length; and at least one 18-inch lifesaving ring attached to a segment of rope long enough to reach all parts of the pool from the deck.

At least one hook and lifesaving ring were hanging from the fence surrounding the Clarion Inn on Wednesday.

The family had traveled to Tampa for a Father's Day program at Living in Victory Christian Church in Valrico, according to TaQuinda Johnson, a spokeswoman for the affiliated Deeper Life Christian Church.

The Grecos are members of a sister church, the New Life Church of North Texas, Johnson said. She said funeral services would likely take place in Dallas.

Times senior news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

Correction: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Sebastiano Greco's first name. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office provided an incorrect spelling.