Police say Kingsport toddler found dead in quarry appears to have slid off cliff

Rain Smith • Aug 25, 2009 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Although an investigation is continuing, Kingsport police believe the 2-year-old boy found in a quarry in July slid off the edge of the cliff to his death.

“There is evidence from what we can see that he basically slid off the top of the quarry,” said Kingsport Police Department Detective Frank Light.

Police previously stated that injuries sustained by 2-year-old Nathan Whiteaker were consistent with a fall. On Tuesday, Light verified that fall does not appear suspicious.

A toxicology report on Nathan is not expected for another two or three months.

The boy was found July 21 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 four hours before his body was discovered. At about 4:30 p.m. Nathan’s mother, Amber Whiteaker, reported him 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 Nathan 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 stood at the quarry’s edge.

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

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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