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UPDATE: Castaic boy found in washing machine dies

Consumer safety group says such accidents are very rare

Posted: August 5, 2013 8:57 a.m.
Updated: August 5, 2013 5:59 p.m.

The 8-year-old Castaic boy who was found face-down and submerged in a water-filled washing machine last week has died, and his death is now the subject of an investigation by homicide detectives, sheriff’s officials said Monday.

Detectives with the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau took over the case after word the boy died Sunday morning at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where he was transferred after initial treatment at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

The three detectives assigned to the case did not return phone calls Monday.

The boy, whose identity has not been disclosed, was pronounced dead at 10 a.m. Sunday at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office said Monday.

As of 4:30 p.m. Monday, the boy’s body remained at the hospital, said Coroner’s spokesman Fred Corral. He said detectives requested that no information about the case be released to the public or the media.

One source close to the investigation said medical staff were proceeding with organ procurement on Monday.

The boy’s father found him in the family’s top-loading washing machine at their home on Pansy Court in Castaic after coming inside from a yard work session to check on the child Wednesday evening, Sgt. Brian Hudson of the Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Bureau said Wednesday.

When deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station arrived at the scene, the child was on the floor in the living room with his father seated next to him, Hudson said. The boy’s clothes were “soaking wet,” he said.

Deputies immediately started cardiopulmonary resuscitation and revived the boy by the time Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedics arrived, Hudson said.

A source close to the investigation said the boy exhibited no vital signs when deputies began their resuscitation.
By 5 p.m. Thursday the boy’s condition had stabilized, after which he was transferred to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He was said to be in critical but stable condition.

Hudson told reporters Thursday there was no indication of foul play, calling the incident a “tragic home accident.”
Children dying from accidents involving top-loading washing machines is rare, said a spokeswoman for a national consumer group.

“You wanted to know if top-loader deaths is a common occurrence — it is not,” said Patty Davis of the Consumer Product and Safety Commission based in Bethesda, Maryland.

Between 2005 and 2009, two children under the age of five died as a result of laundry room accidents in the U.S., according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“There is a voluntary standard in place for washing machines that when the top is lifted, the agitator stops,” Davis said Monday.

Hudson told reporters Thursday that investigators tested the washing machine on the night the boy was pulled from it.

“We raised the lid and the agitator was still working,” he said. “It’s quite possible he got sucked in by the agitator.”

Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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