Two toddlers were found dead inside a washing machine in their home in eastern China last weekend. The 3-year-old and her 2-year-old sister both died of suffocation, police said.
According to the official Xinhua news agency, local Jiangxi province police say it is not being investigated as a homicide. Other Chinese media reports say foul play has not been ruled out.
The girls were found inside the washing machine by their father after it had run a spin cycle.
"The father found the girls curled up in the closed washing machine with a lot of blood when he saw the light on the washing machine was flickering," said the girls’ grandfather, according to Xinhua.
Pictures and video reports show an upright washing machine in the families home. Next to it is a small chair.
The parents said they remembered hearing a loud noise, but they didn’t suspect anything, according to the South China Morning Post. When they could not locate the girls later, they suspected they had left the house. Their mother reportedly fainted when she learned of what really happened.
A witness told an online news portal that they helped take the children to hospital.
"The girls were swollen and had bruises all over the body," the witness said. "There was a lot of blood in the washing machine."
The Haier Group, a Chinese manufacturer and maker of the washing machine, said their machine would not operate under the conditions that were reported.
The family has been widely criticized on China’s social media. Many parents are in disbelief that the parents did not hear screaming from the children when the machine came on. Some microbloggers have taken picture of their own children sitting in washing machines to highlight how incredible the story is.
Police said there was good relations within the family and that there were no signs of a homicide, Xinhua reported.
The girls have one surviving younger brother. Their parents are both unemployed.