Family of Nikki Smith raise new questions regarding her 'accidental drowning'
FOX 32 NEWS - The family of a teenager who drowned in the backyard pool of a prominent Indiana pastor is raising new questions about the girl's death.
Nikki Smith died in May of last year after being found in the pool at the home of Pastor Steve Munsey.
“No one did anything. No one helped her. No one jumped into the pool to save her,” said Nikki’s mom, Vicki Olds.
Seventeen months ago, Olds' daughter Nikki was babysitting at the home of Steve Munsey, the senior pastor at the Family Christian Center in Munster. The 18-year-old Valparaiso University student was a member of the congregation and had babysat often for his family. But on this occasion, police say, the teenager accidentally drowned in the backyard pool, with no evidence of foul play. Her mother isn't satisfied with that explanation.
“All I know is that my daughter was found face down in the pool, and she was a certified lifeguard, and was CPR certified,” Olds said.
Olds became more suspicious this summer when Pastor Munsey allowed her to see home security video of the incident. She claims it has a 15 minute gap, and that Pastor Munsey's wife - who was home at the time - had been alerted by a child about trouble in the pool, but did little.
“Mrs. Munsey peered from her window and saw her body floating face down in the pool, and instead of attending to her immediately, she made a judgment call and said her soul had left her body, there's no sense of urgency,” said attorney Trent McCain.
The victim's stepfather has also seen the video.
“The first thing that she did was walked up to the water, bent down, and waved her hand in the water. What that means, I don't know,” Johnny Walker said.
An attorney representing Pastor Munsey told FOX 32 that neither he nor the pastor would comment on the case because they don't comment on pending litigation.
But shortly after the girl's death, Pastor Munsey's attorney did say, "The entire Munsey family and the members of the Family Christian Center church are saddened by this tragic, accidental drowning..."
The victim’s family hopes the wrongful death lawsuit will help them get a copy of the video, and eventually answers to what happened.
“If Nikki accidentally fell in the pool, if she was pushed, whatever, we don’t' know, we hope to be able to find that out,” McCain said.
Olds family is also suspicious because they say there was no water found in the teenager's lungs, and no drugs or alcohol in her body.