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Father of baby found in freezer now faces murder charges
Carlton James Mathis 2018
Carlton James Mathis

A Gainesville man whose 6-month-old son was found dead in a motel room freezer earlier this month is now charged with murder.

Dothan Police in Alabama obtained a murder warrant for Carlton James Mathis on June 19 but do not know when he will be extradited to Alabama from Levy County Jail in Florida, where he faces other charges.

Dothan Police previously charged the child’s mother, Amanda Gail Oakes, of Murrayville, with manslaughter and abuse of a corpse. Mathis also is charged with abuse of a corpse.

Oakes is being held in the Houston County Jail in Dothan on a $250,000 bond for the manslaughter charge. Levy County Jail officials said Mathis is being held on a total $1 million bond.

“Mathis will be held at the Levy County Detention Facility until these charges have been answered for in a Levy County Court. He will then be extradited to Alabama to face the homicide charges awaiting him there,” the Levy County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release June 7.

Carlton James Oakes’ body was found in a freezer June 4 at the In Town Suites on Ross Clark Circle in Dothan, and “it appears the infant was in the freezer for approximately five or six days,” Dothan Police said earlier this month.

Mathis was shot four times by a Florida SWAT officer June 4 after authorities say he threatened the driver of the vehicle he was in when authorities stopped it, according to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. 

The Levy County Sheriff’s Office charged Mathis June 7 with aggravated assault with a firearm with the intent to commit a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, child neglect, possession of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana.

Hall County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Scott Ware said Mathis is a documented member of the Ghost Face Gangsters. Mathis had been named a person of interest in an April burglary at a Texaco in North Hall.

The baby’s body was sent to Montgomery, Alabama, for an autopsy. The Houston County coroner’s office said the case is still pending.

Dothan Police Lt. Lynn Watkins said Mathis was questioned “in reference to the circumstances related to the death of the child.”

“After the interviews were completed we obtained a murder warrant. We will not get into the specifics of the interview,” Watkins wrote in an email.

Watkins did not specifically explain the discrepancy in charges for Mathis and Oakes.

“It is believed that the child was deceased prior to being placed in the freezer,” Dothan Police said last week. “However, foul play is suspected in the child’s death.”

Carlton Oakes’ funeral was Friday, June 15, in the chapel of Memorial Park Funeral Home in Gainesville.