Recent deaths not first for Bradley County family

Recent deaths not first for Bradley County family

July 6th, 2012 by Paul Leach in News

Photo by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- The grandmother of two Bradley County boys who died mysteriously last week notes that their older brother also died tragically.

Travis Hyatt Bates perished in a Cleveland fire in 2007 when he was 3 years old, according to Linda Bates, the paternal grandmother to River Bates, 3, and Leland Bates, 5.

Travis' death is not part of the current investigation regarding River and Leland's deaths, said Bob Gault, spokesman for the Bradley County Sheriff's Office. The investigation into their deaths is still open, he said.

The mother of all three boys, Tasha Moses, told the family that the two young boys were playing outside on a Slip'n Slide water toy last week when the incident happened and that she had only left them alone for 45 minutes, Linda Bates said.

The grandmother said she regrets not being able to do more for her grandsons, saying that she had told Moses to contact her anytime she needed help taking care of the boys.

Autopsies were performed on River and Leland last week, prior to their funerals Tuesday, said Gault. Further comment regarding the investigation likely would depend on when the sheriff's office receives the complete results of the autopsies.

The autopsies, which were performed in Knoxville, could take a month or longer to generate final results, said Eric Blach, lead investigator for the Bradley County medical examiner. If the performing pathologist requests toxicological or other lab work, it can add time to the process, said Blach.

Tasha Moses called 911 shortly before 3 p.m. on June 30 to report a possible drowning situation involving the children, according to Bradley County EMS officials.

Although the incident occurred at the family residence at 879 Keith Valley Road, Moses took her children to her father's home at 851 Armstrong Road because she had no phone at her home, Gault said in a Friday news release.

Law enforcement and emergency officials said they were not clear regarding the details of the events preceding the boys' deaths.

"We're getting mixed reports where this took place or what the circumstances were," said Bradley County EMS spokesman Stan Clark previously.

River died while en route to SkyRidge Medical Center in Cleveland. Leland, who was airlifted to the Children's Hospital at Erlanger, died the next day while undergoing treatment.