Preliminary autopsy report shows toddler's injuries consistent with fall; investigation continues

Rain Smith • Jul 28, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Police Department has received a preliminary report on the autopsy of a toddler found dead last week in a quarry.

According to Deputy Chief David Quillin, injuries sustained by 2-year-old Nathan Whiteaker appear to be consistent with a fall. However, he emphasized that an investigation is still ongoing, and the final autopsy report from the Quillen College of Medicine has not been completed.

“We’re still awaiting the final autopsy (report), and there may be some other things that show up,” Quillin said.

Nathan was found about 8:10 p.m. last Tuesday in the Vulcan Materials Co. rock quarry on Deneen Lane. His body was at the bottom of a cliff that police estimate to be more than 200 feet tall.

Rescue personnel began searching for the child about 4:30 p.m. after his mother, Amber Whiteaker, reported Nathan missing from a friend’s residence at 147 Beartown Road.

According to the mother, she, a friend and an 8-year-old girl were outside with Nathan just before he disappeared. They said they went inside for just a moment, and when they came back out he was nowhere to be seen.

The quarry where the child was found is about three-quarters of a mile from the residence where he was reported missing. Police said he would have had to travel through dense woods to reach the site.

A dilapidated barbed wire fence, falling apart and missing strands, is all that stands at the quarry’s edge, Quillin said.

“There is still some more work to be done,” Quillin said of the police investigation into Nathan’s death. “At some point our findings will be presented to the district attorney’s office, if any further action is warranted.”

When police responded to the Beartown Road residence, they began their search for Nathan by looking through the home.

“So many times the child is located right there in the home or just outside the home, and the parents have simply overlooked the child,” Quillin said.

Though the child was not located, police did find mushrooms growing in one of the rooms.

Everston Webb, 41, of the residence, was arrested and charged with four offenses: manufacturing mushrooms; maintaining a dwelling where narcotics are used, sold or stored; possession of drug paraphernalia; and possession of Schedule I drugs for resale.


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