Toddler sisters found dead in washing machine wasn't homicide - police

Two young girls, aged 2 and 4, died after crawling into washing machine

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 September, 2013, 10:28am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 September, 2013, 10:22am

Two toddler sisters died after crawling into a washing machine at their home and accidentally turning it on. 

Police have ruled out the possibility of homicide after the pair, aged 2 and 3 (earlier media reports said she was 4), were found dead hours after a spin cycle had been activated at their home in a suburban town in Jiangxi province on Saturday, Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

The sisters had found their way into the washing machine installed on the balcony of their flat while their parents were both indoors, their mother cooking in the kitchen and their father watching TV in the bedroom, according to media reports.

The parents recalled hearing a loud noise, but said they didn’t suspect anything. Instead they thought the sisters had left the house after they found them missing.

When the mother returned home after a fruitless search outdoors, the father found the washing machine had its lights blinking. The couple was devastated after finding their daughters dead inside the machine.

"The father found the girls curled up in the closed washing machine with a lot of blood when he saw the light on the washing machine was flickering," the children's grandfather was quoted by a Jiangxi-based online news portal as saying, according to the Global Times.

A witness quoted by the portal who was said to have helped take the children to hospital described the heart-breaking scene.

"The girls were swollen and had bruises all over the body," the witness said. "There was a lot of blood in the washing machine."

The children's mother fainted when she heard about the deaths, the witness added.

In ruling out murder, police partly cited good relations within the family and no signs suggesting homicide, the Global Times said, citing Xinhua.

The sisters are survived by a younger brother, said media reports. The parents are both unemployed.

Reports of the heart-wrenching tragedy have triggered harsh criticism on China’s social media of the parents’ negligence in looking after their children.

“The two sisters must have yelled for help when the machine started. How could they have heard nothing?” a reader commented.

Others wondered how the machine had functioned at all as the total weight of two toddlers could easily have exceeded its functioning capacity.

Update: Local police said on Tuesday that the two sisters had been buried on Saturday afternoon upon the request of their family members. Police received a call the following day from a relative of the family, inquiring compensation matters. Police said further investigation was being conducted.

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