A next-door neighbor of Rodney King said she heard the 47-year-old in his backyard sobbing uncontrollably early Sunday, apparently after he had been up all night. Then she heard a splash.
King, who was a talented swimmer, was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool Sunday morning, and detectives with the Rialto Police Department were still investigating the circumstances Monday.
According to the LA Times, King’s fiancée, Cynthia Kelley, called 911 at 5:25 a.m. after finding him and telling detectives she was unable to get him out of the pool because she was a poor swimmer.
One neighbor, Sandra Gardea, 31, said she heard music playing and a man crying in King’s backyard from about 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. She also heard Kelly attempting to persuade him to come back into the house.
Then there was silence, said Gardea. A few minutes later she heard a splash.
King’s other neighbor, Dee Schnepf, 58, said it was not uncommon for King to take a swim at night or early in the morning, and that “he liked to swim in the dark.”
Meanwhile, police stressed Monday that they are investigating the incident as an accidental drowning, but are looking into every lead.
An autopsy was conducted Monday morning, although King’s cause of death will not be made public until the completion of toxicology tests in six to eight weeks, said the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office.
Findings from the autopsy are critical to the investigation because they may reveal whether King suffered an undiagnosed medical condition that caused him to lose consciousness, or if he had been drinking or was under the influence of drugs when he died.
There were no outward signs of alcohol or drug use that may have caused King to fall into the pool, police said.
Police said King’s body showed no signs of trauma, and no traces of blood were found on the concrete pool deck or in the water. He was dressed in swim trunks when police officers pulled him from the water.
A true legend was lost. We pray that the police department gets to the bottom of this; they certainly owe it to him.