Toddlers who drowned in San Jose daycare pool identified

3 mins read

Two toddlers who fell into a San Jose daycare’s pool and drowned were identified on Wednesday. 

Payton Cobb, 1, of Hollister, and Lillian Hanan, 1, of San Jose, died Monday, according to the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Payton and Lillian were two of three young children who fell into the pool at Happy Happy Daycare on Fleetwood Drive. They were rushed to the hospital but were declared deceased. 

The third child survives. 

The San Jose Police Department is investigating how the girls were able to crawl, toddle, or walk through a gate and access the backyard pool without any of the workers noticing them. 

Happy Happy Daycare was inspected by state authorities as recently as last month.

According to the California Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing division, licensing program analysts inspected the home in 2020 for a pre-licensing inspection. 

The daycare was ordered to make changes to the pool area and secure it with a fence. 

A license was granted to the facility after an inspection in 2021.

CDSS reports show that most of the children who went to the daycare were infants, babies, and pre-school aged. The CDSS facility evaluation report identifies the daycare’s owners as Shahin Shenas and Nina Fathizadeh.

The most recent visit happened on September 13, 2023, when two licensing program analysts “conducted an unannounced case management during another visit and met with Shahin Shenas and Nina Fathizadeh. LPAs also observed two infants, three preschool day care children, and licensees’ adult assistant, Ivonne Vanessa Tovar, present in the home during today’s inspection. A deficiency was cited (and) appeal rights were given to licensee.”

Happy Happy Daycare was cited for not documenting how often workers supervised and checked on infants while they were sleeping in a napping room. No citations were issued in connection to the pool during the Sept. 13 inspection.

The citation states, “Licensees did not maintain documentation of sleep check for C3 and C4 which posed a potential health, safety or personal rights risk to persons in care. Licensees will submit infant safe sleep checks every 15-minutes.”

On January 19, 2023, an inspection conducted described the home’s backyard and pool area as “off-limits” for children who attended the daycare. 

The January facility evaluation report states, “Backyard is fully fenced. There is a pool that is fully fenced within the backyard. The fence is least five feet high and is constructed so that the fence does not obscure the pool from view. The fence is made from a hard mesh material. The gate swings away from the pool, self-closes and has a self-latching device, located no more than six inches from the top of the gate.”

SJPD Officer Steve Aponte said, “This is the type of call that is the worst that a parent could receive.”


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.