NEW DETAILS: Baby Gabriel’s Father Had No Priors

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Investigators say shaken baby syndrome could be one of the many options their weighing in the death of a four-month-baby boy.

Markeya Atkins left her son, Gabriel McFarland in the care of his 17-year-old father, Drew Weehler-Smith Tuesday evening.

But when the 16-year-old mom returned home, she found the baby alone and unresponsive.

He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

While we wait for autopsy results, we're learning more about the baby's biological parents.

Weehler-Smith’s mother fought back tears while telling Channel 13 she's not sure what will happen next.

She declined to do an interview on camera but said her son is a junior at Roosevelt High School. She says he has never had a run in with the law but is now in custody.

“Additional charges are possible but that will depend on what the medical examiner determined in the autopsy about cause of death and how things happened,” Des Moines police Sergeant Jason Halifax says.

Wheeler-Smith is charged with neglect of a dependent person.

The baby's mother is not charged with any crime in connection with this case. But Channel 13 has learnt she has been arrested by Des Moines police at least once.

She was accused of prank dialing 911 while babysitting a friend's two-year old in the Oakridge neighborhood in February of 2013.

The police report shows she lied to officers about her name telling them she was Keesha Smith. She eventually came clean and gave police her real name.

But perhaps most disturbing, medics noticed a bag of K-2 on the kitchen table within the two-year-old's reach.

Police say Atkins was never charged with possession of synthetic marijuana because testing showed there was no controlled substance in the K-2.

The baby's father has no arrest record.

Autopsy results could be released sometime next week.


  • Kelly Brandt

    Wow!! He had no priors & is a junior at Roosevelt……..he’ll probably graduate & do just fine because our legal system will protect him & his rights and forget that an innocent baby lost his life!

  • Lilreb

    The baby’s father had no priors……Thats a new detail???
    The mother was arrested for playing a prank and there was K-2 on the table in something that happened over a year ago. Way to go Channel 13! What does any of this have to do with the cause of the baby’s death and why the father left him alone???

  • BJD

    Channel 13 hasw “learnt”…? Channel 13 should learn 1)how to spell, 2)how to use spell check, and/or 3) how to hire a proofreader.

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