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Autopsy reveals how lifeguard died in YMCA pool

A 21-year-old lifeguard found dead in a YMCA pool in April had an epileptic seizure while standing at the edge of the pool, causing her to collapse into the water and drown, an autopsy showed.

Yesenia Jimenez Linares clocked in at the Lincoln County YMCA in Lincolnton at 5 a.m. April 6 and was found three hours later floating in the pool face down, according to autopsy results released to the Observer this week. She was in regular street clothes, suggesting she fell into the pool, whose deepest point is 5 feet, according to the autopsy conducted April 7 at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem.

YMCA spokeswoman Molly Thompson said co-workers found Linares and performed CPR at about 6:50 a.m., over an hour sooner than the time given in the autopsy report.

Investigators found no sign of a struggle, according to the autopsy report. Linares was taken to Carolinas HealthCare System Lincoln, where she was pronounced dead.

According to medical records cited in the autopsy report, Linares suffered had seizures since childhood and took medication for them.

Her infectious smile and kind, energetic spirit drew people to her, Javier Salazar, the Y’s member engagement and sports coordinator, said in April.

She embodied the Y’s mission of putting Christian principles into practice to help others and build a stronger community, Salazar said. “She was a full-on Y person,” he said.

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