Police report reveals new details about Seymour drowning death

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SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WATE) – The Blount County Sheriff’s Office released incident reports from a drowning investigation after the case was officially closed in court on Monday.

Bethanie Carriker, 34, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated child abuse by neglect and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

She was convicted three months after she left her 15-month-old and 19-day-old daughters in the bathtub. The 15-month-old, Calliope Carriker, died.

The morning of the incident

According to incident reports, deputies were called to the Carriker home around 7:30 a.m. for a domestic dispute on May 7 – prior to, on the morning of, the bathtub drowning.

The report said that Bethanie and Matthew Carriker told deputies that they had gotten into a verbal argument.

Matthew Carriker told authorities the dispute started the night before, after his wife found contact information for women he had relationships with while they were separated.

He said the argument never got physical.

He also said he started recording the dispute on his phone after Bethanie Carriker called 911.

Bethanie Carriker told deputies her husband had woken up in a “bad mood” and that was how the argument continued into the morning.

“Mrs. Carriker advised that Mr. Carriker began threatening to take the kids away from her and that she would regret calling anyone for help,” the report stated.

Past domestic disputes

Bethanie Carriker told deputies the two have a history of domestic issues and that she had an order of protection against her husband in the past.

Deputies found that there was an order of protection for the couple out of Hamblen County that expired on March 1.

According to the report, Bethanie Carriker said she had been living with her husband again for more than a year, and that she didn’t know the order of protection included no contact.

No arrests were made during the verbal dispute. Matthew Carriker left the home voluntarily to de-escalate the situation.

After her husband left, Bethanie Carriker told deputies she felt stuck in the situation.

“Mr. Carriker having control over their bank account, as well as, control over her phone and the locks on the doors to the residence through an app on his phone,” the report stated.

The incident

Around 2:30 p.m. on May 7, first responders were called to the Carriker Home for reports of a 15-month-old not breathing.

Shortly after deputies arrived at the home, they determined the residence was a crime scene, knowing that officers were at the home earlier for a domestic disturbance.

Officers then talked with the first-arriving medics.

“They found both victims on the bed in the master bedroom,” according to the report.

The EMT also reported to investigators that Bethanie Carriker came down to unlock the front door, therefore she hadn’t been administering CPR on the children.

The EMT said there were only four other first responders who entered the home at the time.

While paramedics were transporting the children to the hospital, and the other deputy was securing the scene, another deputy talked with Bethanie Carriker.

The deputy said he found Bethanie Carriker sitting on the floor of the master bedroom with her head leaning against the bed.

“She appeared to be very upset; moaning and crying,” he wrote in the report.

The deputy helped her outside, where she started to cry again, her hands covering her face.

“I then observed 4-5 scratches or cuts on her left wrist that were from side to side that had barely broken the first layer of skin,” the deputy reported.

The deputy asked Bethanie Carriker what happened, and she said she must have scraped it in the bathroom or the faucet.

She then told the deputy that her children were laughing and playing in the bathtub when she went downstairs.

“She began crying again and I observed that she had no tears in her eyes and she seemed confused and very distant,” the deputy reported.

The reports did not include any evidence found after the initial report.

WATE 6 On Your Side is working to obtain more details from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.

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