13RAW VIDEO: Full Interview With Birth Mom

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Watch the entire interview with Gabriel McFarland's birth mother, 16-year-old Markeya Atkins.

The four-month-old infant died Tuesday night after he was found unresponsive at home. His father, 17-year-old Drew Weehler-Smith, was supposed to be caring for him but had left the apartment complex. He has been charged with neglect in the case.

For the first few months of Gabriel's life he was the son of Heidi and Rachel McFarland, who were in the process of adopting him from Markeya. After she changed her mind about the adoption, she reclaimed the baby.

Results of an autopsy on McFarland have not been released.


    • Tman

      This lady is more than out of line, she’s a worthless human being. What reason does she have to be playing prosecutor? Who is this lady? At the very least I’d like to complain on her twitter.

      • Chris Anderson

        How is she out of line? She is asking appropriate questions. And when the child is changing her story or misrepresenting the facts, she is correcting her on it. That is what a journalist is supposed to do.

  • YoungMother

    I pray for the BIRTH MOTHER to get thought this trying time. The way she is being treated is not right. The interviewer is totally out of line!!!! For her to ask her about the police being called to her old address over drugs was irrelevant. What the hell does that have to do with anything???

    Side note: I had my first child at 16, graduated HS early, had a full time job and graduated college in 2011, YES it’s very possible!!!

    • Michele

      I agree! The interview is completely out of line and insensitive. Goodness gracious she’s a child herself. She has the wisdom of her age at the very least and a heart of mother. She should not be judged for loving her child and wanting to have her back. She should not be judged for leaving her child with the child father. I honestly doubt she thought her baby would be hurt. The adopted parents as adults should have been prepared for the possibility of her wanting her baby back especially with it being an open adoption. And no one with a heart will ever imagine let alone prepared to lose a child. More then ever this little girl needs as much love and support as she can get. This station should be ashamed of this heartless interview.

      • Teens should not have babies

        if she would have kept her pants on to begin with, this situation never would have occurred. Little thing called abstinence. And yes, I was abstinent at her age…by choice. Get your education and get your life in order first.

    • Chris Anderson

      Yes, it’s possible, but it is irresponsible. At that age, it is almost impossible to have the means and support to care for a child fully. If you make the choice to have sex at a young age, then you should have the smarts to take precautions.

  • Teens - STOP having babies!

    I KINDA trust him with the baby?!?! What was she doing leaving the baby with someone she only ‘kinda’ trusts??????

    • Kim

      What’s she doing? Important stuff. She was going to get her nails done and make arrangements to go to a concert. That’s why she left her baby with someone she did not trust. I bet she goes to that concert. She did end up getting her nails done the next day

  • Carrie

    Why would she go to the library on Forest, across town? She lives off of South Union and Army Post, There’s a library on Porter, just off of SW
    9th. That doesn’t make sense for just needing to print off concert tickets. But she sure knows where she gets her nails done! Sounds to me like she’s not wanting the whole truth to come out. I know if my child died when someone was to be taking care of him/her, I would definitely be talking to them to find out what happened! Lots of questions still surrounding this situation, that’s for sure!

  • Renee

    I don’t think the interviewer is out of line at all. I don’t have any sympathy for this selfish girl at all, only for the baby who would still be alive if he had been left with the adoptive parents. Sick story all the way around.

  • Teens - STOP having babies!

    I agree with Renee. She agreed to be interviewed about the death of her baby. She should have expected it to be uncomfortable.

    Sounds like the baby wasn’t crimping her style at all, gets her nails done and goes to concerts. Sounds like she lives alone and doesn’t go to school.

    Do you think she was wanting money from Rachel and Heidi? She made a comment to the effect that they didn’t try to get the baby back after she took him away. almost sounds like she was hoping they would come back and maybe offer her money to sign the papers.

    • Devin Robinson

      Its extremely funny to me that you have all this to say, but you dont even know what really happened. Instead of bashing a young woman who just lost her child you should try to keep rude, irrelevant comments to yourself. If you’re an adult start acting like one.

      • Teens should not have babies

        i’m glad you are enjoying the comments.
        A blog is a place for people to put their opinions.

        the facts of this situation are that this girl made poor choices that ended up with her pregnant and now a baby is dead.

    • Devin Robinson

      Why state your opinion? If you’re going to be ignorant keep it to yourself. And yes Im very aware her baby is gone. She’s my friend. Her baby is gone becase of the Father’s negligence, it had nothing to do with her. She was the best teen mom i know so i dont really care how you feel about anything. like i said if you’re an adult act like one.

      • AE

        The best teen mom you know? I fear for the other teen moms you know then. No job, no education, leaving a baby with a kid you “kinda trust” taking him out of a stable environment that would have kept him safe and spending someone else’s money on your nails and concert tickets. Rachel and Heidi are my friends and Gabriel could not have had better mothers than them. She knew him for a month and couldn’t even muster up a tear for him on the interview. She was too worried about defending herself and her failed attempt at trying to say Rachel and Heidi stopped caring!

  • NA

    This interviewer was way out of the line. No one should be accused of wanting to having their baby back. You have just lost a viewer because of the insensitive way you have interviewed a young mother with an extreme loss in her life.

    • Melanie Bieker (@Melanie_Marie__)

      Agree completely. Unless WHO forces this horrible interviewer to apologize for the careless, reckless, insensitive way she treated this girl I will NEVER watch this station. So disgusting and disturbing. I honestly wish I could see this woman and full on give her a piece of my mind.

  • Kourtney Knapp

    Good I’m glad she made that interviewer leave. She was so rude the whole interview. This girl didn’t do anything wrong, her son is gone. Stop acting like she did something wrong besides having a child at a young age.

  • Kevin

    This interview is worthless. None of this matters. This was an unfortunate event could’ve, should’ve doesn’t change what happened. It’s unfortunate that WHO, was allowed the opportunity to do this interview by the mother. Perhaps the section being called 13Raw is very appropriate for the type of journalism we have witnessed here.The way this was conducted it is clear they do not have the sensitivity or proffesionalism to report on a story of this magnitude. This is somebodys daughter, a minor, and was not treated with the decency and respect I would expect a “Professional” to treat them. The appropriate thing to do was to either not have conducted the interview understanding this is a grieving minor, a grieving mother and if they were not able to decipher that action initially, one of the many people at the studio that decided to have this published online should have had the common sense to have deleted it prior to getting to this point. Prayers for the Minor who is enduring from her mistakes through a sad event I wish no one would ever have to go through.

    • Patti Guy Sheeler

      My prayers go to the child that was left with a young man that she “kinda” trusted. Who in their right mind would do that? “Kinda trusted”?Why in the world would he leave a baby? Why is getting concert tickets and nails done more important? No, I don’t feel sorry for the mother. She took all the money and care from the two women from Ankeny because either her boyfriend or family weren’t taking care of her during her pregnancy, then she can up and say, oh sorry, thanks for the hundreds and hundreds you have spent on us, but I changed my mind. Then she can leave the baby with someone she kinda trusts. Nope, no empathy in my books for her. Very interested to see what the autopsy states. Maybe then people will be singing a different story.

  • sweetmay

    I wonder… what makes people think a journalist is supposed to cuddle a person to get answers? sorry but that’s not how it works, the questions were straight to the point. @teen stop having babies I was JUST thinking this same thing!! she keeps saying “they didn’t like like kinda like try to get him back” money please??? besides, It has everything to do if the cops came to the house for drug use! this girl and her mom wanting to get rid of the baby! that’s why they arranged this private adoption! I get my nails done and go to concerts girl, but your priority with a new born is to GET A JOB and raise your child!!! I am sorrrryyy for everyone that keeps saying her behavior is “ok” because she is a teen, she is a teen having sex, she is a teen playing house, not a victim, sadly consequences will come no matter your age! I know MANY teen moms that put their stuff together as soon as they find out they are having a baby… this girl is obviously not one of those! You can go back to High School even with a baby, there are programs that help you! you can get a job! but no …this “momma was watching law and order and cartoon” uuuggghhhhhh

    • Grammyspot

      So what you are saying is that she is guilty because she became a teen mother? I raised a fantastic daughter who got married at 25 and had her first child at 26. BUT she could have very well been a statistic like many teenage girls who get pregnant. What if it was your child who got pregnant as a teenager. I can assure you that no matter how you raise your children, you can not keep them from having sex. And if you say you can your a liar. I think her mother should have been around to help her though. She should have Never let her do this interview in the first place. Also, this Sonya person had it out for this little girl from the beginning of the interview. That is bad journalism and doesnt look good for channel 13 or Sonya.

  • momoftwo

    I’m sorry, but she certainly doesn’t act like a grieving mother…
    Maybe the interview was a little harsh, but she did ask a lot of the questions that people have been wondering (and voicing), and lest we not forget the 16 year old DID AGREE to the interview.

  • Kim

    I like how she didn’t get her nails done on Tuesday night because her baby died, but she sure managed to have freshly done nails for this interview on Thursday.

    The friend needs to be questioned on why her immediate response to hearing that the father was watching the baby was to say, “do you trust him”? And mom’s response was, you better go over there. That speaks VOLUMES

  • Angie

    no emotion, no tears from a Monther who lost her baby Tuesday? hmm I think there is more to the story…. So sad

  • kasandra

    The problem About this is that thier making it Seem like She was the Only Teen parent out here . Im 17 with no Job , yet my child is well tooken care of , Thats why theres FAMILY… I have my family support and so does she. I knew Markeya Personally and That baby had everything in the world , had all the love and attention a child would ever need ! Markeya Grew Up with this , She made a whole 360 and was the best Mother for that boy , so what she canceled the adoption , that was her child that she carried for 9 months! the child she gave birth too. Its ridiculousness that people are judging her when this wasnt even her fault. Is it Wrong For a mother To love her own child? Its messed up , that everybody is trying to prove her wrong in so many ways . Yet what would you guys feel if the people that where suppose to care for your child disrespected you ? Trying to say that they wouldve been better parents then you … Just imagine what shes going through now … Imagine What It what feel like if you lost your own child that you carried ….

    • Why have babies so young?

      why did you have a baby when you were uneducated and unemployed? is the baby-daddy involved at all or is this child going to grow up without a daddy?
      unless you were raped, you made the decision to have a baby. now, other people, including your child, are paying for that decision. If you are on government assistance, since I AM employed, and pay taxes, I am paying for that decision. Not very fair to my kids is it? Since I made good choices I have to pay for the decisions of those that make bad choices.

      you can say you didn’t mean to get pregnant. You made the choice to get into bed with at least one boy. You should have known that pregnancy was certainly a risk.

      • Kim

        To everyone bashing her because she is a teen mom:
        I was a teen mom. I used some state assistance. My parents supported me longer than I would have liked. BUT I grew up, learned a ton about life, became a strong woman, and am now a Registered nurse, finishing up my bachelor degree, with a son getting his engineer degree and a daughter who is a massage therapist. Sometimes it takes a little help and support from state and family. There is no reason for me to believe this girl did anything wrong. Just because you are a mom means you don’t get to have fun once in a while? I don’t know any mom who stays home 24/7 without a little time for herself. Rather than bash the mom, why not bash the father who was supposed to be caring for the child and who left?! To this girls friends and family, give her a hug from me and tell her some of us are very sorry she is going through this.

  • Joe

    Where is this girls parents at? They are just as much at fault as this 16 year old girl is. Why is a 16 year old living alone? Who is paying her bills?

    It’s an endless cycle. You have parents raising kids in an unloving and uncaring home and then those kids grow up and raise their kids the same way.

    Maybe if this girls mom and dad were in the picture then none of this would have happened.

    It’s sad! Sometimes people can’t help how they turn out, they never had a change to begin with.

  • Momof3

    I agree, Grammyspot. It felt like an interrogation! Yes, the mother made an agreement to give this baby up for adoption prior to giving birth, but she wouldn’t be the first person to change her mind after the birth.

    • Grammyspot

      Yes I agree. This interview and the way Sonya treated this young girl (whos only guilt is of loving her baby) makes me glad I am a Channel 8 KCCI watcher. I would never watch Channel 13 ever~

  • deedee

    I don’t know this girl, though it is a very sad story. However, I’d like to know for those who criticize her for getting her nails done (which no one knows for sure if she did that day or the next) how many of you mothers had their hair/nails done, or a spa day or a getaway day? Mothers are allowed to have their personal time too and they do at all ages, so does that make a 30 yr old mother a bad mother or a “selfish” mother for leaving her baby for a personal day? She made a bad decision to leave that baby with the father but who are anyone of us to say she is not grieving just because she doesn’t show it on the interview. I am a private person and I do not show my emotions to anyone but when I am alone it all comes out. I do believe Gabriel would be alive if left in the care of his adoptive parents but also you can not fault a mother for wanting her baby back. It happens all the time. Then to ask her about her past?… leave it in the past. EACH and EVERY one of us including the news anchor has a past and at least one thing in the past we are NOT proud of. She is a child, children and ADuLTs make poor choices and mistakes. Let her grieve. Even if she doesn’t show it on this interview, I believe it will haunt her the rest of her life!!! Tragic.

    • Kim

      The mother cared more about getting her nails done and making concert arrangements than who was watching her child. Her friend found out the father was watching the baby and her response was, “do you trust him”? And mommy’s response was for her to go back to the house to keep an eye on the baby. She knew he shouldn’t be watching that baby. But having fun was more important

  • John

    To all those passing judgement. You do not know her or the situation beyond this interigation that this reporter conducted. Let thee without sin cast the first stone. This is a sad story and the ‘man’ who left the child should be punished. There are no winners here.

  • Priscilla

    I hope you all have a change of heart and remove this cruel, embarrassing “RAW VIDEO” which you have just bullied a mother that just lost her child. Yes everyone would like to hear answers, her side of the story as well as the adopted parents side, but to ask such heartless questions and unrelated questions example after she told you to leave you decided you must further belittle her I bet pushing the fine line of defamation. She decided she wanted to care of her baby, yes he might have not lived the life the adopted parents could have gave him but later in his life do you think he would be mad his birth mother decided she couldn’t go through with giving him up. She didn’t kill him, this was not murder on her part it was neglect of the father, where is your cruel interview asking him why he didn’t stay with that precious baby? We want answers from him, not the belittlement of this young mother that left the child with his father, yes maybe he shouldn’t have been left, yes she made the biggest mistake of her life that she will live with for the rest of her life. She’s still a grieving mother, and for those who say she doesn’t seem like she’s grieving define what that is suppose to look like. I’ve lost a child, not in a situation near as complex as this. my son passed away due to complications from being premature, he never came home with us, but I held him in my arms until his very last heartbeat he was never alone and the father is who is to blame here. He left that living, breathing, healthy (from what we know) baby there to die alone. I think you owe this mother a apology you were clearly out of line. Everyone that I have shared this awful video to agrees they will definitely reconsider viewing stories from this news station. Normally your station is the first one I go to, normally you have great information, and its for the most part very respectful. Not today.

  • Pete

    This is sad for all parties involved. The fact that people are out here passing judgment and picking sides is sick.

    Nobody knows the whole story, including the people involved. They only know their side. They don’t know what the other side went thought or how they handled the whole situation.

    A baby died and that is all that matters. It’s not about pointing fingers, it’s about being human and having compassion.

    This was a no win situation and unless you have adopted or have gave up a child then you have no idea what all three of these ladies are going thru.

  • cynthia caylor

    Sonya was being vindictive and was so wrong for putting this young mom through this interview! She has already lost her baby and is confused as akid having a baby already it is her right to keep her baby if she wanted him! God will hopefully heal this family and the pain they are going through and sonya should publically apologize to this girl for that cold hearted interview!

  • Melanie Bieker (@Melanie_Marie__)

    To the interviewer: I seriously hope you read this. First of all, the way you dealt with this MINOR is nothing short of appalling. WHO should fire you for the insensitive way you handled this. What a rat. You had NO intention of getting a story. You only wanted to blast this girl. Who said her past was perfect? What gives you some almighty right to judge someone else? SHAME ON YOU. This girl had enough class to ask you to leave. If it was me, I would of sent you flying out of my house on your butt camera and all. This situation is awful on all accounts but your job as interviewer was cold, rotten and careless. You do realize she didn’t kill her baby right? Why were you putting her on trial? Shallow and rotten. I am beyond disgusted.

  • brittany

    This interview makes me sick! How is the anyway to treat a young mother, wether she has smoked “k2” or “took a baby away from the adoptive parents or not. The interview is insensitive and rude. It really made me think twice about how I felt about WHO and Sonya. I’m speechless.

  • Lilreb

    All you people wanting to know why a 16yr old is living in her own apartment need to now ask why a TV channel is interviewing a 16yr old! A minor is a minor right!?! Yes, shes 16 and shows every bit of it but she is also a mother who just lost a child. Why arent any of you people who are judging her asking where the interview is with the dad, the one who was with the baby last? The one who has been arrested? Why are none of you people concerned about him? That is where all the answers should come from! Not this poor girl.

  • Teen Mothers

    I think some of yahl should really feel ashamed of yourself. I don’t think the situation was right but no one has the right to talk negatively about this young girl. I had my first kid at 15 and I’m doing way better then some older woman my age. How can yahl even open your mouth to keep bashing her. What does that say about your character. Why do you 40,50,60 year old people feel right to talk about a 16 year old. That’s really pathetic. No one knows what happened so don’t speak on it. I’m praying for all three women that was involved and the child’s life and I’m praying for all you pathetic people trying to make the mother look bad. To the father we honestly don’t know what happened there it seems fishy but not my place to speak until more information is found out.

    • Laura

      Yahl? Grammar is a huge reason why teen parents don’t get respect they feel deserve… You have to earn respect and right or wrong people tend to judge on how you present yourself versus getting to know you. You may be a great mother but your presenting yourself as uneducated when you use slang versus proper grammar.

  • Kathy

    All of her responses to questions asked and her response to Rachel and Heidi acting as mothers seem selfish and very typical 16 year old. She was not ready to be a mother and flip flopping decisions show her immaturity. If she had so much family support, where was her mother’s guidance in this decision making process and in keeping the child while she ran around town to get nails done and buy concert tickets. And now she kind of wants to defend the 17 year old father. I would be screaming to anyone who would listen for answers to why my baby died and was left alone.

  • Chris Anderson

    She like, was totally, like, going to, like, be the, like, best mother, like, in the whole, like, world.

    This just breaks my heart. Why does she think she would ever be a good parent? She is 16 and can’t support herself. How in God’s name does she think she is responsible enough to raise a child?
    I hope she has fun at that concert.


  • Estelle

    Most of these pro Markeya Atkins comments are made by some of her friends. No the charges have been upgraded to murder. Still think she’s the best teen mom ever and the interviewer is out of line. You people are pathetic.

  • Jassmine

    Everyone who wants to sit and judge her should really wake up and realize NOBODY is perfect on this earth . Yes she is 16 with a baby but that does NOT mean she is a horrible parent . Why can’t she use her child as a motivation to finish high school early ? Get a job ? You don’t know what she would have accomplished this year if she still had her son so don’t be so quick to point fingers because you only know what the news tells you. You don’t know her, what she has been through. You people are sickening with the negative and evil comments. May God be with this young women and her family.

  • shelley

    Markeya Atkins I am so for the lose of your sweet precious baby boy. I can not imagine losing one of my son’s. As far as the interviewer… you are wrong for the way you treated Markeya. She did not kill her son. It is not her fault. You have no reason to degrade her like that. I feel sorry for the couple that wanted to adopt the baby but putting blame on Markeya is not the way to deal with your pain. Let’s all focus on the person who committed murder. Jassmine who commented before me… I am with you and feel the same way. It’s a shame that people want to bash this girl when she just lost her baby. What is this world coming to. God Help Us All

  • Erica

    Everyone grieves in different ways! You people have absolutely no idea what this girl is going thru. She is just a baby herself. For anyone who has kids do you really think you’d be able to give your baby up for adoption and never look back? I have kids and I would never be able to part with them. And she did cry in the interview, she just wiped her face and tried to keep the tears back. As for the childs father, she said that he knew what he was doing with the baby and she didn’t think anything bad would happen. And what because she’s 16 and has a baby she can’t go to a concert? She’s not entitled to have some time to herself or enjoy life? She may not be in school right now but I’m sorry real life experiences, such as being a mother, gives you more educational direction than a damn math book. Everyone is so quick to judge this poor girl. Its sad for all three of them. They all lost something special. And for people to be so insensitive and bashing shows exactly what is wrong with our society. We need to learn to treat one another how we want to be treated. This little girl had no idea that her childs father would hurt him. If she did I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have left him. Can you always predict that something bad is going to happen in your life? No. So why should this 16 year old little girl be any different. She loved her child and just wanted a chance to raise him and be a mother. Its terribly sad and instead of blaming her why don’t we blame the one who is in jail. The one who’s actions directly caused the death of Gabriel? It makes me sick that grown ass adults are on here talking so much crap about a 16 year old teen mom. Look at mtv.. the show 16 and pregnant….what do you think that shows teens? Well I say it shows them that if they get pregnant its ok because it’ll get them attention and maybe get them on tv. Our world is so backwards. And no parent can make their kids be abstinent….. that’s a choice kids make. They might be kids but they still make decisions on their own no matter if they are raised “correctly” or not. Grow up people and let this little girl be. She feels the whole world is judging her and that’s why she is defensive. Such a same grown adults bashing a 16 year old mom who just lost her child. Everyone mourns differently. I drank a beer and watched fireworks after my fav person in the whole world died. My grandma. Does that mean I wasn’t mourning?

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