UPDATE: Suspicious child death in Whitwell
WHITWELL, TN. (WRCB) - There are many unanswered questions about a child's death in Marion County. Authorities discovered the 9-year-old in the backseat of a jeep, that was in the Sequatchie River.
The boy's mother and her boyfriend were alive in the front seat.
The big question is what caused the child's death and right now, investigators say they don't have an answer.
Channel 3 is getting some new details on what makes investigators suspicious about how he died.
The 911 call came in just after 8 p.m. Central Time Saturday from a driver on River Mill Road in Whitwell.
"There's a jeep off in the river there and we can't tell if there's anybody in it or not. The headlights are out of the water," the caller told 911 dispatchers.
People were inside. Emergency responders helped two adults out, saying the jeep stalled while they were off-roading. Then they pointed to a little boy in the back seat.
"It was like the child was asleep in the back seat," Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett says.
The 9-year-old appeared unharmed, but he was dead.
"It was odd, I'll say that. It was very odd," Sheriff Burnett says.
The jeep isn't wrecked, the boy had no visible injuries and drowning has been ruled out.
"Water level was below the door of the jeep. The child was never submerged in the water," Sheriff Burnett says.
That's why he says the sheriff's office, TBI and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are calling this a suspicious death investigation.
The THP arrested the boy's mom, Lindsey Newsom, who was in the front seat. They're charging her with aggravated child abuse and neglect, reckless endangerment and possession of prescription drugs.
Her boyfriend, Nicholas Mosier, was driving. He was arrested on the same charges, plus DUI and driving without a license. This isn't his first time behind bars.
"He had a record of being through sessions court or through the court system 36 different times with different-- not all traffic offenses, but other offenses," Sheriff Burnett says.
"He's got a lot of drug issues and like I said, I don't think she's been seeing him very long," Katie Harris says.
Harris is friends with some of Newsom's family. She says they're in shock over the loss. In fact, she says the whole community is heart broken.
"It breaks it. It doesn't just tug. It just wants to pull it plum out of your body," Harris says.
Sheriff Burnett hopes to provide answers.
"I want to know what caused this child to die," Sheriff Burnett says.
Sheriff Burnett says the little boy lives in Alabama with his dad, but was in town visiting his mom.
Those who know the little boy said he just moved down there a few months ago, but grew up in Whitwell. They say he played football and loved Spiderman.
Sheriff Burnett says more charges could be coming, pending the autopsy at the State Medical Examiner's Office.