An Ohio woman accused of killing her 11-year-old son and leaving his body in a Mississippi hotel room was arrested Wednesday in New Orleans, police said.
Latina Marie Oates, 33, of Powell, Ohio, was arrested at about 9 a.m. Wednesday, Tommy Cox, police chief of Laurel, Mississippi.
Oates has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Joshua Oates.
At the time of her arrest, she was with her two other children, Justin Lamar Oates and Mark Anthony Oates, ages 6 and 9, Cox said in a telephone interview Thursday. The children were in “good condition” and are being cared for by child welfare authorities in New Orleans, Cox said. He added that police have contacted family members in Ohio, who are coming to retrieve them.
Cox declined to say how Joshua died, but he described the scene in the hotel room in the south Mississippi town as “disturbing.” An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.
“It was one of the worst homicide crime scenes I’ve ever seen,” Cox said. “I’ve been doing this 25 years, and this was disturbing.”
Police in Mississippi and Louisiana had issued bulletins warning that the children had been taken by their mother and were “believed to be in imminent danger” after hotel staff discovered Joshua’s body.
Oates was booked into the Jones County Jail on Wednesday night and had her initial appearance Thursday afternoon in Laurel Municipal Court, where she was denied bond, according to Cox.
The chief said that Oates did not have a lawyer but that one would likely be appointed in the coming days.