The 25-year-old mother charged in the heat-related deaths of her two children is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing in the case Thursday, Aug. 30, in Smyrna General Sessions Court.
Samantha Harper is facing two counts of especially aggravated child abuse for allegedly putting her 3-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter in a vehicle Aug. 2 and then falling asleep inside her Old Nashville Highway home, according to a Smyrna Police Department press release.
The children died from apparent heat strokes after being trapped in the car for more than hour.
During a brief court appearance Thursday, a public defender was appointed to represent Harper, who was being investigated by the Tennessee Department of Children Services when the deaths occurred.
Harper remains in custody on a $200,000 bond at the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center.
Man accused of assaulting girlfriend
A 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assaulting his girlfriend while she was sleeping Wednesday inside their shared hotel room at Regal Inn in Murfreesboro.
Taron L. Henry, who is currently on probation, has been charged with domestic assault in connection with the incident, which occurred just after midnight in the 2000 block of South Church Street, according to a Murfreesboro Police Department arrest report.
Officers responded to the scene after a complainant, who was staying in an adjacent room, reported hearing Henry's 28-year-old girlfriend screaming for help and crying.
When police found Henry's girlfriend, who had fled to a nearby room for safety, they discovered she had significant swelling and redness to the left side of her face and jaw.
Initially, the woman was reluctant to explain what had happened. However, she eventually told officers Henry barged into the hotel room, woke her up, demanded to see her cell phone, and allegedly began punching her in the face.
Due to the physical evidence supporting the woman's statements, police concluded Henry was the primary aggressor in the domestic dispute.
Henry was then taken into custody and transported to the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center, where he was held on a $2,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Thursday, Sept. 6, in Rutherford County General Sessions Court.
Unruly juveniles suspected in vandalism
Police are investigating whether a group of juveniles is responsible for causing more than $500 worth of damage Tuesday night to a vehicle that was parked outside of a neighbor's home on Lincoya Drive in Murfreesboro.
On Wednesday, the woman who owns the newer-model Dodge Journey discovered it was covered in eggs, had several dents in the hood, and the passenger door and tailgate had also been scratched multiple times, according to a Murfreesboro Police Department incident report.
The woman told police she has been having problems with some of the juveniles who live nearby, which led her to believe the vandalism could have been an act of retaliation.
Teenager nearly kidnapped
An unidentified man allegedly attempted to pull a 16-year-old girl into a white utility van Tuesday night as she was walking past Providence Community Corrections near the Square in downtown Murfreesboro.
The incident occurred just before 7 p.m. in the 300 block of West Main Street.
The girl told detectives the man drove up beside her and began asking if she needed a ride. When she declined the offer, the man then grabbed the girl by the hair and pulled her into the van, according to a Murfreesboro Police Department incident report.
As he began driving, the girl managed to escape by hitting him and kicking the door open. She then ran nearly a mile all the way home and called police.
Officers canvassed the area soon after being alerted to the attempted kidnapping, but they did not find the suspect or the van, which did not have any windows or marking on it.
The suspect is described as a white male with brown hair and muscular build, and he is believed to be in his early-20s. At the time of the incident he was wearing dark-colored sunglasses, a blue shirt and blue jean shorts.
Police have since stepped up patrol in the area, and the matter remains under investigation.
Anyone with information about this incident should call CrimeStoppers at 615-893-7867.