Bates trial in heat-related deaths begins Tuesday
by By GREG KAYLOR Banner Staff Writer
Aug 25, 2013 | 1276 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Jury selection is set to begin Tuesday morning in Bradley County Criminal Court involving a woman accused of contributing to the heat-related death of her two small children.

Natasha Bates-Moses was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of her sons, River Bates, 3, and his brother Leland, 5.

The boys died as the result of elevated body core temperatures. Investigators believed the boys had been confined inside a space, possibly in a car, in the summer heat and their bodies overheated causing their deaths, according to reports.

Autopsy results concurred with local investigators that the two boys had died from hyperthermia, or elevated body core temperature.

Investigators went to a Keith Valley Road address on July 13, 2012, after receiving information about possible drug activity, according to Bob Gault, media relations coordinator for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.

Bates was later charged with aggravated child neglect, four counts of initiating meth manufacturing, promotion of manufacturing methamphetamine, as well as the felony murder charges.

According to court officials, Bates will stand trial on all the charges due to the fact a severance regarding the narcotics charges was denied by the court.

“Through investigation and statements, investigators found reason to believe the boys died in a car and an autopsy ruled the cause of death to be from hyperthermia,” Gault said following Bates ’ indictment by a Bradley County grand jury.

Temperatures that day in June 2012, were in the 100s.

Criminal Investigations Division detectives with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office began their search for answers after first responders rushed to an Armstrong Road home around 3 p.m. June 28, where they had reports of two young children unresponsive and possibly drowned.

River Bates’ body core temperature was 109 degrees after being transported to SkyRidge Medical Center, according to Dr. Jeff Miller’s autopsy and toxicology reports. Leland Bates was flown to Erlanger Medical Center where he later died. His core temperature was reportedly 103 degrees after medical treatment to cool his body while in transport to the Chattanooga hospital, according to Miller. Public defenders Richard Hughes and John Fortuno will be representing Bates.

Stephen Hatchett, assistant District Attorney General will be the chief prosecutor and Judge Amy Reedy will oversee the case in Bradley County Criminal Court.

Trial is set to begin immediately after a jury is selected.