Teenager Electrocuted While Playing On Phone In Bathtub

July 19, 2017
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14-year-old Madison Coe decided to take a bath to unwind before bed.

She took her phone with her into the bathroom and was careful to keep it dry as it charged, laying its power cords on to a towel. Madison snapped a photo of her setup and sent it to a friend with the message saying, “When you use (an) extension cord so you can plug your phone in while you’re in the bath.” 

That was the last time anyone heard from her.

A police investigation was conducted and concluded that Madison was electrocuted while in the bathtub at her father’s home in Lovington, New Mexico.

Lovington Police spokesman David Miranda said that the photo might have been taken up to an hour before the teen died.

Now, her family released that last text message she sent in the hope of preventing similar accidents.

She had her phone plugged into the extension cord and it was by the bathtub, and I did it, she did it, we all had sat there in the bathtub with our phones plugged in and played our games,” Felisha Owens, Coe’s stepmother, said.

The phone was plugged into a charger, which was plugged into an extension cord connected to a “non-GFCI, non-grounded” bathroom wall outlet, police said.

Miranda said that police think that by the time of the incident, the phone adapter cord had been disconnected from the extension cord.

Initial reports said that Madison’s Samsung 6s Edge had fallen into the tub, however evidence later showed the phone never actually touched the water.

Investigators believe the girl took precautions to keep the cords dry however she was not aware of fraying on the extension cord, the statement says. She likely touched the frayed extension cord while still in the tub, Lovington Police said.

“There was a burn mark on her hand, the hand that would have grabbed the phone,” Coe’s grandmother, said.

The family authorized release of the text and photo to raise awareness, especially among teenagers, about the dangers of the combination of water, electricity and portable electronics.

Madison’s stepmother said she hopes others will learn from this tragedy.

“The bathroom is a place for showers and personal time, and your phones don’t belong in the bathroom,” she said. “Electricity and water do not mix. All it takes is a drop.”

“You don’t think to sit in there with a 14-year-old,” she said. “You don’t micromanage your kids anymore, but maybe you should.”

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