INFANT DIES: Teen Father Charged With Neglect

A teen father is charged with neglect of a dependent person after his four-month-old son died Tuesday.

Des Moines police released the child’s name Wednesday afternoon. They say four-month-old Gabriel McFarland was found unresponsive by his mother at an apartment at 6520 Chaffee Road.

According to a police report 16-year-old Markeya Atkins returned to the apartment after receiving a tip from a friend that the baby’s father, 17-year-old Drew James Weehler-Smith, had been seen driving away from the apartment complex and the baby was likely alone.

Atkins found the child unresponsive in his glider chair, with “white stuff” around the outside of his mouth. She told police it didn’t look like her son was breathing and she called 911. Emergency crews arrived around 8:20 p.m. and took McFarland to the hospital where he later died.

Weehler-Smith is being held in the juvenile court system due to his age. More charges could be filed depending on the outcome of the baby’s autopsy.

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