FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A mother and stepfather now face upgraded charges in the 2019 death of a 7-year-old boy.
Fayetteville Police Department announced Thursday that Saint Michael Edwards, 25, is now charged with first-degree murder; Evie Bates, 25, is now charged with accessory after the fact of first-degree murder.
The pair are accused in the death of 7-year-old Ethan Bates, who was found dead inside his Fayetteville home Oct. 2, 2019. They were previously jailed on child abuse charges.
Ethan's stepfather is being held in the Cumberland County Detention Center without bond. Ethan's mother is being detained on bonds totaling over $1 million.
Ethan missed three days of school, and a teacher reported seeing bruises on his face prior to his death.
Warrants from 2019 state that officers found Ethan's body badly bruised from head to toe; he also reportedly had broken bones in his hands.
Another report from a search warrant notes that a family member confronted Saint Edwards and Evie Bates about the abuse, after which they threatened that family member with a machete.
Investigators said Evie Bates did call 911 on the morning of Oct. 2. She was reportedly very emotional for the 6-minute call, screaming that her son would not wake up and was not breathing.