Young Jonique Williams disappeared during a Fourth of July party and had been missing for nearly 24 hours when an uncle tapped a volunteer searcher on the shoulder and asked him to come look in the swimming pool.
The volunteer jumped in and pulled out the little girl.
Police suspect foul play in the case, and autopsy results were pending Tuesday. Forensic experts were expected to be brought in Wednesday.
The case is pitting the family and their friends against police.
The controversy revolved around whether the pool was searched sufficiently.
According to police, Jonique was last seen about 6:30 p.m. Sunday. She had just gotten out of the pool, which is 10 feet at its deepest end, and walked into the living room to ask where her mother was.
Her parents had gone to the store to buy groceries.
She was reported missing by the family just before 7 p.m.
When a diver and police responded, several children were still in the pool, which nearly fills the entire back yard.
Police spokesman Kelly Huston maintained Tuesday that authorities had more than adequately searched the pool.
Searchers went house-to-house for blocks around. But it was not until the next day the 4-year-old's body was discovered - right where the search began - at the house where the party was held. They body was under water at the deep end of the swimming pool.
Chuck Crawford was one of those who discovered it.
"I thought it was dirt. And then I could see her little braids," he recalls.
Family members and friends contend that looking in the pool is one thing, having a diver actually go in is another. Some even wanted to know why the pool - which they said was murky partly because they added chemical cleaners Sunday morning - wasn't dragged.
Police insist if the girl had been there all along, they would have seen her, though they never sent divers into the pool.
Jonique and her family came from Oakland to attend the holiday gathering.
Huston said more than 40 family members, friends and neighbors had been interviewed and that more would be questioned.
Police don't yet know how the 4-year-old girl died, but they say they now consider her death a homicide. And a family is left wondering if a killer could be among them.