Her mother says that Greenlee Marie Buckley, 10, would have done anything to help an animal.
So when her kittens got trapped behind the clothes dryer in the East Texas home her family rented over the weekend, getting back there and reaching out for them was instinctual, KTAL reported.
But their utility room was more dangerous than the family knew. Buckley was electrocuted at about 7 p.m., according to the station.
"She was such a light in this world and everyone she ever met couldn't help but fall in love with her," her mother, Shelby Roos, wrote in a Facebook post notifying friends and family of Greenlee's passing. "She had more compassion for everything living at 10 years old than most will have in a lifetime."
The family had rented the home in tiny New Boston, about 20 miles west of Texarkana and 150 miles northeast of Dallas, for the last 15 months, KSLA reported.
"This residence had had some electrical issues from the past, according to some reports and statements that have been made," New Boston interim Police Chief Gary McCrary told the station. "It's too early right now to start placing blame and responsibility."
According to multiple do-it-yourself and electricians' message boards and blogs, a dryer giving off an electrical shock to the touch is a sign of a fairly common but potentially dangerous electrical issue. It could mean faulty wiring inside the machine or with the home's dedicated electrical outlet for the dryer. It could also be a faulty grounding connection, or a combination of any of those, according to the DIY blog Hunker.
Investigators with the police department, as well as Bowie County Sheriff's Deputies and the Southwestern Electric Power Company, based in Columbus, Ohio, returned to to the home Monday, according to the Associated Press.
Greenlee's body has been sent to Dallas for an autopsy.
"She loved her babies, and she would do anything for them," Roos told KSLA of her daughter and her kittens. "I know she is up there right now with all of her babies. Landlords need to be held accountable for the conditions of the homes that they let people live in. All we want is a voice for our daughter who left us over a senseless act."