Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade park swim instructor fondled 9-year-old girls, cops say

Daniel Diaz-Mejia
Daniel Diaz-Mejia Miami-Dade Corrections

A swim instructor at a South Miami-Dade community center popular with kids was arrested Wednesday for fondling two children under the age of 12.

Daniel Diaz-Mejia, 20, was charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child. He was jailed at the Turner Guilford Knight correctional center and denied bond.

The incident happened Tuesday at the Helen Sands Swimming Pool inside South Dade Park at 16350 SW 280th St.

Police said the two victims were 9-year-old girls and that both told their mothers that Diaz-Mejia placed his hands inside their bathing suits during swim practice.

Diaz-Mejia was picked up by police in Doral Wednesday night and arrested. Police said that under questioning he admitted to the crimes.

One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation confirmed Wednesday that Diaz-Mejia had worked for the department about three years, but has since been fired. His most recent title was Pool Lake Lifeguard 3, the department said.

“We are not able to comment on this matter, as it is an active police investigation,” the department said in an email.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
Chuck Rabin, writing news stories for the Miami Herald for the past three decades, covers cops and crime. Before that he covered the halls of government for Miami-Dade and the city of Miami. He’s covered hurricanes, the 2000 presidential election and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting. On a random note: Long before those assignments, Chuck was pepper-sprayed covering the disturbances in Miami the morning Elián Gonzalez was whisked away by federal authorities.