Leeann Eatts has been formally charged with the manslaughter of her two sons.
Leeann Eatts has been formally charged with the manslaughter of her two sons. Alix Sweeney

Mum charged over boys' drowning deaths

UPDATE: THE mother of two boys found deceased in the Ross River has been formally charged over their deaths.

Leeann Chyrsilla Eatts has been charged with two counts of manslaughter after the deaths of her sons, five-year-old Barak Austral and three-year-old Jhulio Sariago.

After an extensive search, the boys were found submerged in a steep and deep cutaway of the Ross River in Cranbrook on the morning of February 26.

Townsville Child Protection and Investigation Unit officer-in-charge Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles said an arduous investigation led police to lay the charges.

"This is an investigation that revolves around the care of these young boys and what lead to their tragic passing," Sen-Sgt Miles said.

Sen-Sgt Miles said police were looking into a range of issues surrounding the events leading up to the boy's deaths.

"We have significant history in relation to the movement of the boys in the days, weeks and even months prior to this particular event.

Eatts, 47, has also been charged with trafficking dangerous drugs, supplying dangerous drugs and three counts of supplying drugs to minors.

Sen-Sgt Miles clarified that the drugs charges were separate to the allegations of manslaughter.

"We will be alleging that over a period of time there has been an extensive amount of drug trade," he said.

"She has been charged in relation to supplying a dangerous drug to a minor those charges do not relate to the deceased boys.

"But they do relate to other minors who have been provided dangerous drugs by her."

Along with several lesser drug offences, Eatts is also facing an unlicensed driving charge.

She will face Townsville Magistrates Court tomorrow.

EARLIER: WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following story contains images of people who have died.

THE mother of two boys found submerged in the Ross River at Cranbrook has been arrested in relation to their deaths.

Leanne Chyrsilla Eatts was arrested on Friday and driven to the Townsville watch-house.

It is expected she will be charged later this afternoon.

Townsville Child Protection and Investigation Unit officer-in-charge Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles said the charges were related to the "care and responsibility a parent should have for their children".

Snr Sgt Miles said police will allege the boys were left regularly unsupervised.

Eatts is expected to be charged with trafficking dangerous drugs including supply of illicit substances to minors.

Police will be opposing her bail and Eatts is expected to appear in Townsville Magistrates Court on Saturday.

Barak Austral, 5, and Jhulio Sariago, 3, were found submerged in a steep and deep cutaway of the Ross River in Cranbrook on the morning of February 26.

They were found within 2 metres of each other.

The little boys went missing from their Brett St home between 5.30pm and 6.30pm on February 25.

Supplied image of Barak Austral, 5. Barak died in the Ross River after going missing yesterday.
Supplied image of Barak Austral, 5. Barak died in the Ross River after going missing yesterday.

Their disappearance sparked one of the most resource-intensive search operations in Townsville's recent history.

More than 100 community members, SES and Rural Fire Services volunteers, firefighters and police officers searched on land and in waterways for hours as the emergency helicopter took to the skies.

It was an Amber Alert ­issued by authorities just after 11.30pm that sparked a groundswell of support from the community, with up to 40 residents from across Townsville getting out of bed to help search.

About 40 police officers, ­including the dog squad, ­detectives, general duties officers, officers from Rapid ­Action Patrol and Water Police were also involved.

The two brothers were laid to rest in a shared coffin at Thorak Regional Cemetery in Darwin after a farewell on March 25.