Police investigate death of girl whose body was found in pipe after swimming at a Texas hotel

HOUSTON (AP) — Police in Houston are investigating the death of an 8-year-old girl whose body was found inside a large pipe for a lazy river at a Houston hotel where she'd been swimming with her family.

Aliyah Jaico's death on Saturday was ruled an accidental drowning by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. It said she died from drowning and mechanical asphyxia, when an object or physical force stops someone from breathing. Her autopsy report is pending.

Police said the girl was found “inside a large pipe in the pool area” and was pronounced dead by paramedics.

A lawsuit filed Monday against the hotel by her mother, Jose Daniela Jaico Ahumada, alleges that the child was sucked into an unsecured opening in the pool's flow system that was 12 inches (30 centimeters) to 16 inches (40 centimeters) wide.

“They had to break up concrete in order to extract her, cut pipe, it was absolutely horrific,” Richard Nava, her mother’s attorney, said Tuesday at a news conference.

The family was staying at the Doubletree by Hilton Houston Brookhollow, which is named as a defendant in the lawsuit along with Hilton Worldwide Holdings. A Hilton spokesperson said they were deeply saddened by the girl’s death and noted that the property is independently owned and operated by a third party. The spokesperson said that Hilton had not been served with a lawsuit and doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

A law office that the Hilton spokesperson said represented the hotel ownership did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Ahumada said in the lawsuit that she’d rented the room so her family could enjoy a day of swimming, an activity Aliyah loved.