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'He was purple. His eyes were open.' Child dies after playing hide-and-seek in dryer

A 10-year-old Houston, Texas boy was killed after hiding in the dryer while playing hide-and-seek. He was found unconscious in the dryer by the other children, and an autopsy said his cause of death was accidental electrocution.
A 10-year-old Houston, Texas boy was killed after hiding in the dryer while playing hide-and-seek. He was found unconscious in the dryer by the other children, and an autopsy said his cause of death was accidental electrocution. File

A game of hide-and-seek turned deadly for a 10-year-old Houston, Texas, boy after his playmates opened the door to a clothes dryer and found his unconscious body lying inside the drum late Saturday, KHOU reported.

"The juveniles were playing hide-and-seek, and the juveniles were the ones who found him unresponsive," HPD Detective Michael Arrington told the Houston Chronicle. He had reportedly been hiding in a communal laundry room inside an apartment complex on Fleming Drive, according to the paper.

Ten-year-old Fernando Hernandez Jr., the the oldest of four children and a third-grader at Harris Elementary School, was rushed to Bayshore Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to KHOU.

"I don't know what happened," his mother, Christina Rodriguez, told KTRK. "I was just inside cooking and my little son came inside and told me my son was dead on the floor."

Investigators first believed the boy had become trapped in the dryer and suffocated, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Such a thing isn't unheard of - in fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission even published a safety document warning parents about the dangers of children becoming trapped in dryers, freezers and other appliances.

"Frequently, the children were playing 'hide-and-seek' and the appliance or chest provided a deceptively good place to hide. When the door slammed shut, the tight fitting gasket on most of the appliances cut off air to the child. This, along with the insulated construction of the appliance, also prevented the child’s screams from being heard," the warning reads.

But a report from the medical examiner's office found the boy didn't suffocate, but was actually electrocuted in the dryer, according to Click2Houston.

"My boyfriend picked him up and brought him into the house," Rodriguez told KTRK. "He was purple and his eyes were open and he was gone."

An investigation into the death is still ongoing, but police believe there is no evidence of foul play, according to KHOU.

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