ONTARIO (CBS) – Ontario police are investigating a bizarre case of child endangerment after a toddler became trapped inside a running washing machine Thursday.
KCAL9’s Nicole Gonzales reports that the people who witnessed the incident said it was incredibly traumatic to watch after the 1-year-old was apparently put into the machine by his aunt.
“I saw it tumbling and it was the sickest thing I ever saw,” said Jeff Holquin, a customer who was in the Laundromat when the child got into the machine. He yelled for help, and two construction workers came running.
“When I saw that they were trying to use a crowbar here, and the other guy was on this side, and then finally I thought, well we better break that glass,” he told KCAL. “We couldn’t stop the machine. There was no safety button, no way to turn off the electricity and it was just chaos.”
Ontario police said the toddler was only in the machine for seconds, but one can imagine the damage. Witnesses described the horrific incident to KCAL.
“He was crying, there was blood all on his face, the poor baby,” said Frances Durrett, another customer.
“All you could see was the baby’s chest going up and down really fast and every time the baby would open his eyes, his eyes would literally roll in the back of his head,” said Jennifer Pena.
Officers said the child’s mother, grandmother, and 15-year-old aunt were washing clothes together when apparently the aunt was playing with the child and placed him in the washer.
“Once you close the door it automatically starts cycling into the spinning and the wash mode and the door automatically locks,” said Ontario Police Sgt. Robert Freire.
Police are now launching a criminal investigation for child neglect.
Officers said the child is probably alive because of the quick thinking of some good Samaritans.
“This is a situation where I think just a few more seconds and it would have been a very tragic result,” said Freire.
The toddler is currently in stable condition at Loma Linda Medical Center.