A teenage father of a baby boy who died just weeks after his birth mother took him back from his lesbian adoptive parents has been charged with murder.
Drew James Weehler-Smith, 17, of Des Moines, Iowa, has been charged in connection with the death of four-month-old Gabriel McFarland who died of head trauma.
The newborn had been adopted by lesbian couple, Rachel and Heidi McFarland, before the teenage mother of the baby, Markeya Atkins, 16, decided she wanted her son back.
Weehler-Smith was the only individual at home during the time of Gabriel’s murder, with Atkins stating she returned to find her baby blue and lifeless in a glider chair.
She told WHO-TV: “I never thought in my wildest dreams this would happen” as she spoke out about her son’s death for the first time, arguing she initially gave her son up for adoption after she believed her care would be unfit for the child.
Under Iowa law, a mother is allowed to take their child back from adoption within the first few months of giving the child up.
Rachel and Heidi McFarland said they were “devastated and heartbroken” by the baby’s death.
The two mothers were apparently watching the evening news when they were informed of Gabriel’s death, with Rachel McFarland telling their local paper, Des Moines Register, “It’s like he’s been taken away from you again.
“We brought him home from the hospital. I cut his umbilical cord, (now) we’re just left to put the pieces back together”, she added.
Mr Weehler-Smith is being charged as an adult and could face life imprisonment if convicted of murder, and a further 50 years if found guilty of endangerment.