CLEVELAND (AP) — A criminal investigation is under way in the heat deaths of two young brothers who died last week, the Bradley County sheriff’s office said Friday.
A preliminary autopsy found that 5-year-old Leland Bates and 3-year-old River Bates both died of hypothermia, a news release from the sheriff’s office said.
Officials told the Cleveland Daily Banner last week that emergency crews responded June 28 to a call from the boy’s mother, Tasha Moses, who reported a near drowning. She had driven with the children from her home to her father’s house about 1-1/2 miles away to reach a phone.
No pool or body of water was at either scene, officials said. The boys’ grandmother, Linda Bates said the mother told family members that she had left the boys alone for about 45 minutes while they played outside on a water slide toy.
The National Weather Service reported the temperature reached 103 degrees that day in Chattanooga, about 30 miles southwest of Cleveland, Tenn.
The younger boy was pronounced dead that day. The older child was airlifted to Erlanger Medical Center in Chattanooga and died the following day.
The children were buried Tuesday.