Thirty-four-year-old Bethanie A. Carriker appeared before Judge Robert L. Headrick in Blount County General Sessions Court yesterday afternoon.
The Seymour mother was led into court by a public defender just before 2 p.m. She was charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse by neglect after her two daughters – one 15 months old and the other 19 days old – were found unresponsive in a bathtub.
Both children were taken by ambulance to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. The toddler died Tuesday evening; according to court documents, the infant remains intubated and in critical condition in intensive care. An autopsy on the toddler was scheduled for Wednesday at the Knox County Regional Forensics Center.
Because of the children’s ages, Knoxville Defense Attorney T. Scott Jones says Carriker’s charges are elevated to a Class-A felony status. Carriker could face up to 60 years in prison.
Carriker will remain in jail until her next court appearance May 29 at 1:30 p.m.