Tasha Bate's surviving son starts campaign against meth
BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
Skyler Bates is all smiles. But the 10-year-old has been through more pain than most adults can imagine.
"I've lost two brothers, my family has been torn apart," he said.
Skyler lost his two younger brothers, River and Leland, nearly two years ago. His mother, Tasha Bates, is serving life behind bars. Last year, she was found guilty in connection with the deaths of her sons. A medical examiner ruled the two died of overheating, likely from being left in a hot car.
"If someone out there has suffered a pain similar to this, I know how you feel," said Skyler.
A jury found his mother guilty of first degree murder, child neglect and making meth.
"In court, they kept saying something needs to be done about meth. Well, I decided I'm going to do something about meth," he said.
Now Skyler's making it his mission to try and spot as many addictions as he can. His campaign's Facebook page, Skyler's Anti-Meth Fight, has nearly 2,000 likes.
"We lost two children, he loses his mother to prison her whole life, it's destructive," said Linda Bates, Skyler's grandmother.
Linda Bates is Tasha's former mother-in-law. She's cared for Skyler, who has cerebral palsy, since he was an infant. She's helping spread his anti-meth message.
"Look at our situation," she said. "But also look how our mess has been turned into a message, our tragedy into triumph, and our pain into purpose."
And Skyler's purpose is powerful.
"Even if I can save one child's life, that's all I need," he said.
Skyler hopes he can someday travel across the region to speak out against the drug. He is in a contest to win a handicap-accessible van, which his family does not currently have. To vote for Skyler, click here.