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Mother sentenced: Her five-year-old was found in washing machine

Incident in Elwood last year
Mother sentenced for neglect.
Posted at 10:22 PM, Nov 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-20 22:24:26-05

ELWOOD — An Elwood woman has been sentenced, more than one-year after her six-year-old son was found in a washing machine that was filling with water.

32-year-old Heather Oliver pleaded guilty to one count of neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury. A Madison County judge sentenced Oliver to four-years, but two-years was suspended and the rest will be served in community corrections.

The bizarre case unfolded in August 2019 when the child and his father showed up at St. Vincent Mercy Hospital in Elwood. The father told doctors and police that Oliver, who is his girlfriend, called him at work to say there had been an accident involving the little boy.

According to information from Elwood Police and the Madison County Prosecutor, Oliver said she went to the laundry room at home because she heard water running. There, she found the boy inside the washer, which was filling with water. She turned the machine off before the drum and agitator were activated.

Oliver said she had no idea how her son, who has autism, managed to climb into the machine and start it.

At the Elwood hospital, doctors decided to send the child to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, although his injuries were not considered life-threatening. There were multiple bruises and scratches on his body.

The case was investigated for several weeks, with doctors saying that some of the injuries to the boy were not consistent with being in a washing machine.