Columbus Mother Accused of Murdering 11-Year-Old Son Found Dead in Mississippi Hotel

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A Columbus mother was in custody in Louisiana Wednesday after Mississippi authorities say she killed one of her three sons in a hotel there a day earlier.

33-year-old Latina Marie Oates, of Lariat Court on the Far North Side, was arrested Wednesday in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation had issued an Amber Alert for Latina’s 9- and 6-year-old sons after a third son of Latina was found dead around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in a hotel room in Laurel, Mississippi.

Laurel police later identified the deceased child as 11-year-old Joshua Oates. He was a sixth grader at Liberty Elementary School in the Worthington school district.

Latina Oates was being sought on a first-degree murder charge related to Joshua’s death, according to police. She was last seen on surveillance video leaving the Hampton Inn in Laurel early Tuesday morning with her sons, 9-year-old Mark and 6-year-old Justin.

She was taken into custody in New Orleans around 10 a.m. EST on Wednesday in a driveway of a residence there. The other two children were found safe in the vehicle at the time of her arrest and are in protective custody. Police have been in contact with family members.

Police said Latina had been at the hotel since Saturday with her children. It was not immediately known why she was in the Laurel area with her children or whether she had relatives or friends in Mississippi and/or Louisiana.

Laurel police Chief Tommy Cox said that Laurel typically has two or three homicides a year. However, the location of this death was unique.

There is no information available on how Joshua Oates died. They are awaiting the outcome of an autopsy at the state crime lab in Pearl, Mississippi.

“Our first goal was to find those two kids,” Cox said. “Now we are working toward trial.”

Latina is expected to be extradited back to Mississippi from New Orleans in the coming days, police said. Franklin County court records indicate Latina has no prior history with law enforcement in Ohio.

Check back here for updates.

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