ROMANCE, Ark. – An 18-month-old boy died Wednesday of suspected heat exposure after he climbed into a dishwasher that started running, police said.
Authorities are still investigating, but said it appeared the boy's death was accidental.
"This is probably the hardest, most emotional scene that these investigators will ever work," said Chief Deputy Jeremy Clark of the White County sheriff's office.
Blake Kurck was found dead in his home near the White County town of Romance at about 1 p.m. Wednesday, the sheriff's office said. The boy's 13-year-old brother found him inside the appliance, which was running, authorities said.
"The baby's blanket was lying in front of the dishwasher, so (the brother) opened it," Clark said.
Police have not released how the boy died, but said cause of death would likely be heat exposure. A preliminary report showed no prior trauma on the boy, the sheriff's office said.
"What we have found out so far would suggest that this is a tragic accident; however the case is still open and we're still looking," Clark said.
The dishwasher was empty when the child got inside, police said. Investigators said the dishwasher was a Maytag model that automatically started when the door closed.
Teague said Whirlpool's appliances are certified for child safety through an independent product testing corporation.
"All our appliances go through rigorous testing," Teague said.