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INFANT DIES: Teen Father Charged With Neglect

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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.


  • David

    Very sad. Where were the 17 year old boy’s parents? Bad things happen when irresponsible children have children.

    • RoccoB

      Come on. You should know better.
      Why do people always comment here on stories like this with the same old retort: “Oh my where are the parents?”

      Kids having kids….kids acting like feral animals.
      Kids murdering.
      Welcome to 2014 America.
      Where ya been?

      • David

        Where have I been? I’ve been busy being a father to my two kids and a husband to my wife of 23 years. Providing for them and encouraging them to set lofty goals and dream big. All the while attempting to reinforce the importance of family, the preciousness of human life, and the concept of taking responsibility for one’s own actions (among other things). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking a holier than thou attitude here, just making a making a point that where society is currently at is not a result of random societal evolution but rather the consistent, deliberate, and ever-growing attack on the family and morals by the liberal progressive movement that is at the core of the deterioration of this once great country. It’s everywhere. The “curriculum” our kids are taught in school, what passes as entertainment on TV, video games, movies, music, the slow but sure erosion of our personal liberties by a lawless government, on and on. Where have I been? I’ve been sort of busy dealing with and counteracting all this crap. I can only hope you and other concerned people have been just as busy too so quite possibly tragedies such as this happen much less frequently that they do so today by bringing back the importance of the family. What say you?

  • Sad loss

    People need to think before they sleep with someone ‘am I ready to raise a child’ ‘is this a person I want to raise a child with’. It only takes once.
    These ‘parents’ would have only been 15 and 16 when she got pregnant. Teenagers need to realize that there’s no rush to have sex. It will still be there when you are older and better prepared.

  • Vince M.

    Babies having babies. And neither of the parents have the name McFarland, so where did the baby get the name? I don’t understand.

  • Sad loss

    Babies are a side effect of intercourse. If you aren’t prepared to raise a child (and I can’t imagine many teenagers that truly are), don’t have intercourse These two would have been 15 and 16 when she got pregnant. What are kids that young even doing sleeping together?
    And no, I’m not a prude, but, I do think there are some things you should wait at least until you are out of high school for. Starting a family being one of them.

    It will still be there when you are older and better prepared to handle the consequences and implications.

  • Stop trying to grow up so fast teenagers!

    Babies only happen when you sleep together. If you aren’t ready to raise a baby, you probably shouldn’t be sleeping together. Starting a family is one of those things that should probably wait, at least, until you are out of high school.
    You can still sleep with someone after you graduate, really, I promise. It might even be more fun then.

  • Give a child a chance

    Thoughts and prayers to the little boy and his family. There are so many people out there that would love to adopt, so please if you don’t think you can raise your child or that you might need help call someone. Giving up a child is hard, but giving them a life where they are loved unconditionally and given a chance at life is for the best. Its not wrong to give your child to a family that can help them. It IS wrong if you keep that child and cannot give it a chance at life.

  • Megan

    The baby’s name was Gabriel McFarland and he was adopted by the best parents a kid could have. My family loved him and he was happy. Then the selfish child of a mother asked for him back after three months. If he was still with him he would be alive and happy. The adoption laws are a joke when they allow a happy child to be pulled away from him home to an unfit parent.

    • Give a child a chance

      Sorry to hear that Megan! Prayers go out to your family. I agree that some sort of testing should have taken place before giving the child back to the birth mother. And that police officer should no longer be a police officer, but an inmate at a prison! There is always more to the story than what you see at first…

    • Miller

      I agree that the adoption laws are a joke! I hope the mother knows her actions cost her child’s life. Wow, thinking she was doing the “right” thing by keeping him.. I hope she suffers for a life time over this.

  • Dawn

    I am so sorry, Megan, for your family’s heartache. It seems like something needs to be done with our adoption laws. If I understood right, there was still some paperwork to be done, leaving a loophole and giving the mother the right to take the baby back, which she chose to do. I so hope Gabriel’s death will change something in the adoption laws that would have kept this from happening. Maybe there should be a law that if you have a baby before high school graduation, you have to give it up for adoption. Bet I just opened a can of worms. Food for thought though. Gabriel would still be here, if that was the law.
    Again, Megan, so sorry you and your family have to go through this.

  • Sara

    He was adopted by the most wonderful couple…the birth mother decided she wanted him back just prior to the finalization of the adoption…that was one month ago…..

  • Justice

    Drew was not the father. Markeya was raped by a Des Moines police officer, and then gave up Gabriel for adoption to the female couple, before later changing her mind. Time in jail would do the young lady some good, and perhaps the policeman baby daddy as well. Will of the mother trumps any other form of fit parent in Iowa. There should be extensive testing to pass before one should be allowed to be a parent, whether birth parent or adoptive parent.

  • Carol

    Poor Markeya. There is nothing to say that she wasn’t a good mother to her child, she doesn’t deserve to be attacked.

    • Give a child a chance

      No one deserves to be personally attacked. No one person commenting on here was there. This is very sad, but some people need to back off and let these people grieve.

  • Brooke

    I’m not understanding why the story’s changed I first read that a friend went to check on the baby and “father” because the mom was worried that she had left the child with him.!? Now I read she came home to find the child was alone. &This Drew character isn’t the child’s father.!? Whose to say he didn’t make the whole thing up and is just framing this Drew.!? Seems she’s had a great deal of crazy things happening to her being raped by DM Pd.!? Why didn’t we read about that news worthy story.!? I have a guy feeling the mother is more involved than she’s saying and her sheer neglect to protect her child she should be charged as well.!

    • Lexi West

      So she was raped by police officer you know that for fact.Then why was this never reported.They need to do paternity test then to see

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