Heat linked to Cleveland toddler's death; brother passes away - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

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Heat linked to Cleveland toddler's death; brother passes away

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN. (WRCB)  -- Channel 3 has learned the 5-year-old boy involved in what his family says is a heat-related accident has passed away.

Bradley County Sheriff's Office Spokesman Bob Gault tells Channel 3 Leland Bates died Friday afternoon.

Thursday, his brother, 3-year-old River, died at on the way to the hospital, after his mother found both boys unconscious.

John Craft lives down the road from where River and Leland Bates were rushed to their grandfather's home after their mom found them unconscious outside Thursday.

"My first impression is that they probably had a heat stroke, as hot as it was. You know playing in water, if you don't stay in it you're going to get hot," says John Craft.

Family members tell Channel 3 they were playing on a slip n' slide and were left alone for about 45 minutes.

"The initial call was of a possible drowning," says Bob Gault with the Bradley County Sheriff's Office.

However, neighbors doubt the water was the problem.

"I mean it's a tragedy," says Craft.  

"Even though you're outside playing in water, whether it be at the river, local swimming pool or out in your backyard it's very important to stay hydrated," says Bradley County EMS Director Stan Clark.   

Clark says when you're in water you sweat more fluid than you realize and although it feels like it's keeping you cool, your core temperature is still heating up.

"Heat exhaustion can come on pretty quick," says Clark.  

He says young children, like the Bates, and the elderly are more susceptible to the heat and heat exhaustion.

"It could be 30, 40 minutes. It could be an hour," Clark says.  

To prevent tragic situations like this, Clark urges parents to keep their kids out of the heat altogether. And if you do go outside, force more hydration, most likely much more than you think is necessary.

River's body was taken to Knoxville for an autopsy.

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