A Bradley County grand jury on Wednesday returned an indictment for the alleged felony murders of River Bates, 3, and Leland Bates, 5, who died of hyperthermia in late June.
Natasha Bates has also been indicted on two counts of aggravated child abuse/endangerment, four counts of initiation of manufacture of methamphetamine, and one count of promotion of methamphetamine manufacture. Bates was arrested Wednesday evening and booked at the Bradley County Jail. She is being held without bond.
The drug charges are the result of detectives returning to the home on Keith Valley Road on July 13 under search warrant after receiving information about possible drug activity, according to Bob Gault, media relations coordinator for the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.
Criminal Investigations Division detectives began their search for answers after officials rushed to an Armstrong Road home around 3 p.m. June 28, where they had reports of two young children unresponsive and possibly drowned. The residence where she had taken the children was reportedly the home of her father.
Investigators began looking into the case at Moses’ Keith Valley Road residence where the children had been outside playing, according to initial reports from BCSO. River Bates died at SkyRidge Medical Center a short time after the incident was reported. Leland Bates died the following day.
Early in the investigation, Dr. Jeff Miller, Bradley County medical examiner, reported the children died from hyperthermia. He and other officials would not elaborate on how high the boys’ body core temperatures were at the time of discovery. Eric Blach, lead investigator for the ME’s office, did confirm the children “did have elevated core temperatures.”
Temperatures that day reached 105 degrees or greater.
“Our investigators are searching for information about what may have caused the deaths, whether it be from being outside or inside a vehicle,” Sheriff Jim Ruth said earlier this month of the investigation.
Ruth said the CID detectives believed Leland and River Bates were in some type of confined space which elevated their body core temperatures.
“Through investigation and statements, investigators found reason to believe the boys died in a car,” Gault said.
Natasha Bates is scheduled to be in Bradley County Criminal Court for arraignment on Aug. 13.