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Indiana Mom Charged After 5-Year-Old Son Found Inside Running Washing Machine

Madison County Sheriff's Department

An Indiana woman has been charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury after an incident where she claimed she found her son inside the family’s running washing machine.

30-year-old Heather Oliver was home with her son when she claimed she checked on him and saw him in bed before going to get a glass of milk. She said she then heard the washing machine filling with water and went to check on it.

When she arrived at the washing machine, she said she saw her son inside the machine and immediately opened it and “yanked” him out of the machine.

Instead of calling police or EMS, Oliver reportedly called the boys father at work. He reported that she called him in a panic because their son was stuck in the running washing machine.

He quickly rushed home, and found the boy in Oliver’s arms, “soaking wet.” He said his son vomited water when patted on the back.

He decided to drive his son to the hospital, rather than calling 911, because he thought it would be quicker since they were close to the hospital.

When he arrived at the hospital, nurses noted that the boy was in and out of consciousness and that he was “somewhat dry with wet underwear.”

Police later searched Oliver”s house while executing a search warrant and found no water or blood on the floor, and no signs of a struggle in the house.

Police also found no milk in the refrigerator, and no glass of milk anywhere in the house.

They found a pile of blankets in the boy’s room, but nothing to indicate that he had been lying under them.

When police spoke with the boy a few days after the incident, he didn’t talk much about how he got hurt. When asked if Oliver was nice, however, he did say “Mom is not nice.”

WXIN reports that Doctors at Riley Children’s Hospital, where the boy was transferred, told police that the boy’s injuries were “highly suspicious for non-accidental trauma.”

Both the boy and his father told police that Oliver doesn’t yell or use corporal punishment to discipline him.

Oliver was arrested and charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury “for knowingly and intentionally placing a dependent in a situation that endangers her son’s life and health which resulted in bodily injury.”

She had an initial court hearing on December 19th, and was released on bond the following day.

Children can get into accidents in the home in a matter or seconds. To secure your washer and dryer from curious children, these safety devices are available here for front loading washers and dryers

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…and here for top loading washers.

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Written by Winn Sioux Christnot-Peters

Winn Sioux Christnot-Peters is a writer/web designer and aspiring librarian based in Northern Maine. When not writing or in class, they devote much of their time to multiple non-profit organizations, largely focusing on LGBTQ+ rights and animal welfare. During rare moments of free time Winona enjoys video and tabletop games, as well as various nerdy fiber crafts such as crocheting (mainly amigurumi Pokémon, cat toys, and blankets) and counted cross stitch.