It wasn’t abnormal for 14-year-old Madison Coe, a lover of band and basketball, to shut herself in the bathroom for hours and soak in the tub.
That’s what she had been doing late Saturday night at her father’s New Mexico home, according to family, when he knocked on the door and said it was time to get out.
“OK,” Madison reportedly said.
But 20 minutes passed and the teen never emerged, so Logan Coe called out once again. This time, he got no response.
He entered the bathroom and found Madison unresponsive in the water and her Samsung Edge Plus phone plugged into an outlet in the wall, Madison’s mother, Angela O’Guinn-Downs, told People magazine. The cellphone had fallen into the bathtub, family told local news in Lovington, New Mexico, and the girl had a burn mark on her hand.
Coe, an EMT, tried to revive her, as did medical professionals who arrived on scene and transported her to the hospital, where Madison was pronounced dead. The medical examiner has yet to rule on official cause of death, but authorities said in a news release that “initial evidence shows signs consistent with electrocution.”
Lovington police confirmed a cellphone, a charging cord and an extension cord were found by the bathtub, reported the Associated Press. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission told USA Today it is investigating the incident.
“There was a burn mark on her hand, the hand that would have grabbed the phone,” Madison’s grandmother, Donna O’Guinn, told KCBD-TV. “And that was just very obvious that that’s what had happened.”
Madison’s stepmother, Felisha Owens, told KRQE News 13 that the girl was only doing what she had done many times before — sitting in the bathtub, phone plugged in, “playing our games.”
“I did it, she did it,” Owens said through tears.
But the tragedy has made her realize the dangers.
“The bathroom is a place for showers and personal time and your phones don’t belong in the bathroom,” she told KRQE News 13. “Electricity and water do not mix. All it takes is a drop.”
Madison had just graduated from the eighth grade at Terra Vista Middle School in Lubbock, Texas, reported KCBD-TV. She was spending the summer in New Mexico with her father before starting her freshman year of high school in Houston.
“It is with heavy hearts that Frenship ISD mourns the loss of Madison Coe,” officials from the school district said in a statement to KCBD-TV. “We wish to share our heartfelt sympathy with her family and friends as we carry the burden of this tragedy together.”
In Texas, Madison played basketball and was first chair tuba in the school band.
“Not many girls play the tuba, but Maddy nailed it,” Owens, the girl’s stepmother, told KRQE.
Madison’s grandmother, O’Guinn, said the teen was her “shining star” and “has a special place” in her heart. She was smart and a good student, O’Guinn said.
“She was such a bright, vibrant, very intelligent, loving, caring young lady,” Madison’s mother told People magazine. “She had such a huge heart. Always willing to help others.”
Reports of the girl’s death have sparked family, friends and strangers to share a social media post warning other parents and children about the dangers of mixing electronics and water.
“Please please let her voice be heard and protect and educate your children on the fatal dangers of electrocution,” the social media post states, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
“This is such a tragedy that doesn’t need to happen to anyone else,” Madison’s grandmother told KCBD-TV. “And we want something good to come out of this as awareness of not using your cellphone in the bathroom as it is plugged in and charging.”