Five year old dies in commercial washing machine

Thomas Veil

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Feb 14, 2004
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OBJECTIVE reality
How's this for weird?

A 5-year-old Chilhowie, Va., girl was killed when she became trapped in a laundromat washing machine and her mother was unable to open the door in time to save her, officials said yesterday.

Police in the Smyth County town said they were trying to determine how Rebecca "Hope" Wagoner got inside the triple-load washer.

Police and rescue personnel arrived at the Village Laundromat on Lee Highway in Chilhowie at 9:25 p.m. Friday. The victim, who weighed 30 pounds, was unconscious on the floor, covered with water and glass that shattered when her mother used a rock to break open the door of the machine.

The girl was flown to Holston Valley Hospital in neighboring Kingsport, Tenn., where she was pronounced dead at 10:51 p.m. The medical examiner has not determined a cause of death.

"It's an absolute tragedy," Chilhowie Police Chief Dwayne Sheffield said yesterday. "It's the tops."

Sheffield said Hope's mother, Rebecca Billings Wagoner, had stepped outside the laundromat, leaving her daughter and the girl's 14-year-old half brother alone when the victim became trapped.

The front-loading, high-capacity commercial washer, which is manufactured by Milnor, locks airtight when the door is shut and coins are inserted, Sheffield said. The door on those units, he said, is programmed to not open until the cycle is complete.

Sheffield said the victim's mother returned inside to find her daughter in the machine and tried unsuccessfully to get the washer door open. He said she then used a pay phone to dial 911 while instructing her son, whose name police are not releasing, to go outside and find a rock to break the washer's glass door.

"To the best of my understanding, the cycle had nearly completed and there was indeed water in the machine," Sheffield said. "We're still trying to determine how long she'd been in there."

He said he is meeting today with engineers from Milnor to examine the machine and will discuss the case with the Smyth County commonwealth's attorney at the end of the week.
How horrible.

I don't pretend to know much about laundromat machines, but I have to assume this one had pushbutton controls. If it was merely a matter of turning a dial to end the cycle, her mother would've done that.

Either way, really bizarre, and really sad.
 

Daveway

macrumors 68040
Jul 10, 2004
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New Orleans / Lafayette, La
It must be horrible to watch your child die and be completely helpless.

Last night on the news, they reported that a man was leaving his driveway last night and heard a thump. When he got out he saw that he rolled over his son and killed him.

And lets not forget about the WOW couple. :rolleyes:
 

asif786

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2004
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London, UK.
wow, this really is sad. i dont think there's really a question of how caring the mother was in all of this..she cant be blamed. (i.e. i'm sure we've all been lost in a mall or something at one point - it's nobodys fault)

what i do wonder is how the half-brother let her get in and then didnt mention anything..and why would she be in the machine? they didnt mention his age..perhaps...anyway, it's not my place to speculate..but i'd be interested to hear what happened when they find out.

a very sad story.
 

eva01

macrumors 601
Feb 22, 2005
4,714
0
Gah! Plymouth
how the hell does she end up in a washing machine with her 14 year old brother there. unless there was a fight between brother and sister, which resulted with sister in washing machine.

not far from the realsm of possibility
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
eva01 said:
how the hell does she end up in a washing machine with her 14 year old brother there. unless there was a fight between brother and sister, which resulted with sister in washing machine.

not far from the realsm of possibility
A nightmare.

Your conclusion came to my mind as well. I have 3 girls that pick on each other constantly, the brother MAY have done this as a funny, and who knew you could kill someone like this.

Too sad. The mom will need help for a very long time.
 

Mr. Anderson

Moderator emeritus
Nov 1, 2001
22,407
0
VA
srdashiki said:
NO its not.

How did the girl end up in the machine?

I need that answer before I call her a moron.

exactly - you figure she's loading the machine and that the thing locks automatically when you put the coins in....which means she was in the machine right after or during the time they loaded it.

Smells a little fishy.....but still terribly sad...

D
 

quagmire

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2004
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I am confused. The machine was at the end of the cycle. The mother probably left when the machine was started. How did she get in? Could the brother be to blame? He is at that age of 14. You know how teens get and think their pranks are funny, but hurts others. I am just too confused. What a sad story.
 

stubeeef

macrumors 68030
Aug 10, 2004
2,702
2
srdashiki said:
NO its not.

How did the girl end up in the machine?

I need that answer before I call her a moron.
I had to check his post, but it is one of the times Mactastic and I will agree, yes it is awful. Who was calling who a moron?
 

Lacero

macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
6,639
2
a) That is so sad.
b) My prayers go out to the family.
c) Let us learn from this and never let it happen again.
d) Who can we fry for this?
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,125
2
North Carolina
Lacero said:
d) Who can we fry for this?
Does someone really have to be fried? It's a tragedy, but I don't see why someone must be at fault. There are car accidents every day. Yes, sometimes the accident was the result of negligence, but usually it's just a mistake. Sometimes there are accidents and people die. That doesn't mean someone has to be punished every time there's an accident.
 

asif786

macrumors 65816
Jun 17, 2004
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London, UK.
quagmire said:
I am confused. The machine was at the end of the cycle. The mother probably left when the machine was started. How did she get in? Could the brother be to blame? He is at that age of 14. You know how teens get and think their pranks are funny, but hurts others. I am just too confused. What a sad story.
could that perhaps be why they arent releasing his name? you would've thought that SOMEONE in the laundromat would've seen what happened. perhaps they did..what the hell can you do to a fourteen year old anyway?
 

Mr. Durden

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2005
716
0
Colorado
I am sick over this. Its hard to deal with tradgedies like this, especially when, at first glance, there is nothing to point to and say, "Thats why this happened." What an unimaginable thing to see. Your child locked in a water filled washing machine, tumbling around... And then not be able to open up the door. This is a nightmare.

I think I might throw up... :(
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,647
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Colly-fornia
asif786 said:
could that perhaps be why they arent releasing his name? you would've thought that SOMEONE in the laundromat would've seen what happened. perhaps they did..
Many laundrymats have no attendants, only the patrons are there. It's entirely possible no one else was around.

what the hell can you do to a fourteen year old anyway?
You can charge them with murder in the states. Lock 'em up till they're 25, then let them out as hardened criminals.
 

BubbaJones

macrumors regular
May 13, 2004
151
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East Coast
quagmire said:
I am confused. The machine was at the end of the cycle. The mother probably left when the machine was started. How did she get in? Could the brother be to blame? He is at that age of 14. You know how teens get and think their pranks are funny, but hurts others. I am just too confused. What a sad story.
I thought this first, but it dosen't sit right. How about this...

The girl is playing, thinks it would be fun to hide on Mom and Bro. She climbs into the machine and get tucked way back in the drum. Mom is ready to do the clothes, throws them into the nearest machine. Sis giggles because she thinks that she has it over on Mom. Door shuts. Water flows.

Nobodys fault really (Nobody was trying kill her), but Mom should have kept a closer eye on the kids. Any way you slice it, Mom is responsible.
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
3,647
661
Colly-fornia
MongoTheGeek said:
Try em as an adult in some states and lock them up for 20-life.
Yeah, but at least here with the CYA they tend to come out a lot harder than they were goin in. Releasing a PO'd 20-something with no skills (cept as a cage fighter ;) ) is generally a Bad Idea.
 

xli_ne

macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2005
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0
Center of the Nation
srdashiki said:
NO its not.

How did the girl end up in the machine?

I need that answer before I call her a moron.
its NOT awful!?!?? a 5 year old died and it isn't awful? good god man
anywho...
i would question what the 14 year old was doing that the time. I think there was a csi episode kinda like this. two kids were messing around with one going into the dryer and was killed. but that is tv of course, and not real life.
 

quagmire

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2004
6,255
1,063
BubbaJones said:
I thought this first, but it dosen't sit right. How about this...

The girl is playing, thinks it would be fun to hide on Mom and Bro. She climbs into the machine and get tucked way back in the drum. Mom is ready to do the clothes, throws them into the nearest machine. Sis giggles because she thinks that she has it over on Mom. Door shuts. Water flows.

Nobodys fault really (Nobody was trying kill her), but Mom should have kept a closer eye on the kids. Any way you slice it, Mom is responsible.
Maybe, but in the article, it said that the mother left the girl and the brother implementing she was out of the machine when she left.
 

Hemingray

macrumors 68030
Jan 9, 2002
2,913
25
Ha ha haaa!
wordmunger said:
Does someone really have to be fried? It's a tragedy, but I don't see why someone must be at fault. There are car accidents every day. Yes, sometimes the accident was the result of negligence, but usually it's just a mistake. Sometimes there are accidents and people die. That doesn't mean someone has to be punished every time there's an accident.
Well SOMEONE is at fault, because the girl couldn't have started the washing machine from inside!
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,125
2
North Carolina
Hemingray said:
Well SOMEONE is at fault, because the girl couldn't have started the washing machine from inside!

Not necessarily. The boy (or someone else) may have started the machine without knowing she was inside, or without knowing it couldn't be stopped once it started. I do wonder why there's no way to stop the machine. What point could that serve?
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
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Yahooville S.C.
wordmunger said:
Not necessarily. The boy (or someone else) may have started the machine without knowing she was inside, or without knowing it couldn't be stopped once it started. I do wonder why there's no way to stop the machine. What point could that serve?
Not letting the water out when you open the door, first a pump has to pump out the water then when empty alows the door to release.
 

MongoTheGeek

macrumors 68040
wordmunger said:
Not necessarily. The boy (or someone else) may have started the machine without knowing she was inside, or without knowing it couldn't be stopped once it started. I do wonder why there's no way to stop the machine. What point could that serve?
Its an industrial machine. The ones I've seen have big warning labels and say "Not for use by anyone under 18."

They actually need to be locked shut for safety reasons. Yes, there should be an emergency stop and release and it could be that it does automatically opens or at least unlock with power failure and the laundromat should have hooked it up to a Big Red Button(tm)

Part of me wonders if the mom was inside and the 14 year was moping outside the laundromat.