Authorities have arrested an Elwood woman after her 5-year-old son was found inside a running washing machine.
30-year-old Heather Oliver is charged with Level 5 neglect of a dependent following in bodily injury of the child.
The charge originates from an event that happened on August 16, 2019.
According to court papers, a 5-year-old boy came to the hospital with his father at around 10 am. Hospital staff stated that the boy was shifting in and out of awareness. He has many injuries and scars on his upper body. He was slightly dry, but he had wet undergarments and dirt on his bends.
Medical staff flew the 5-year-old boy to Riley Hospital for further examination.
The child’s father informed police that Oliver, his girlfriend, called him at work at around 9:15 am and told him that their son was stuck in the washing machine while it was running.
The child’s father stated he drove home quickly and discovered his son boy in Oliver’s arms upon his return home.
The man pats his son on the back, and he told that his son puked water. He then hurried his son to the hospital because he believed it would be quicker considering their closeness to the hospital.
Police then talked with Oliver to properly understand the incident from that morning.
Oliver stated that she checked on the boy in his room at around 9 am. She assumed he was under the blankets, so she went to the kitchen to drink a glass of milk. She heard the washing machine while she was in the kitchen and thought it was odd.
That’s when she stated that she noticed the washing machine filling with water, and her son was trapped inside the machine. She said she opened the latch and pulled his son out.
Oliver informed the police she does not understand how the washing machine works. She stated that her boyfriend does the laundry because she has a medical situation that limits her from lifting heavy items.
Police returned to their home to perform a search warrant. They stated they got no water or blood on the ground, and there was no indication of a struggle.
Police further said that there was no milk in the refrigerator and no glass with milk in it.
Police moved into the boy’s room. They discovered blankets in a pile, but nothing would appear as if a kid had been lying underneath the sheets.
Police spoke with a spokesperson for Lucky Goldstar, the manufacturer of the washing machine. The spokesperson said to the police that the machine would not fill up with water and work while the cover is open.
Police examined the washing machine at the house, and an error message appeared on the screen when they attempted to run the washing machine with the cover open.
They questioned the boy three days after he was initially hospitalized, but they did not speak much about the incident. However, according to court papers, when they questioned him if his mom was nice, the boy said, “Mom is not nice.”
Doctors at Riley informed officers the boy’s injuries were “highly suspicious for non-accidental trauma.”
Eventually, Oliver was charged with neglect of a minor “for knowingly and deliberately placing a minor in a circumstance that endangers her son’s life and health, which resulted in bodily harm.”