DES MOINES, Iowa-- Rachel and Heidi McFarland will never hold their son again but they say they've finally found some closure.
“There is not a place for us to really go to be with him. Now that this is over we can find a way to lay him to rest,” Rachel McFarland said.
The McFarland's sued their adoption lawyer Jason Reiper for malpractice. This week a Polk County jury sided with the mothers and awarded them $3 million in damages. It’s a victory three year in the making. In 2014 they lost their adopted son, Gabriel, after Reiper failed to get a crucial document in the adoption process signed. Gabriel was the returned to his birth mother and weeks later died at the hands of his father, Drew Weehler-Smith. He is now serving a 50-year prison sentence for killing Gabriel.
“A child has never been returned after that 96 hours as long as everything has been signed and taken care of,” the McFarlands said.
However the judge would not allow the details of Gabriel's death to be used at trial in their lawsuit. “It was a slap in the face because we didn't get to show the true ending to this you know that`s kind of the main point of this, is the way he died and we knew the kind of environment he was going back to and to not be able to show any of that,” the McFarlands said, “We both fell apart we had to take breaks in between both of our testimonies and it was very frustrating there is a lot of anger a lot because we knew where he was going," Heidi McFarland said.
The trial focused on malpractice alone which the moms say they're happy is over. There is no word how much if any of their award they will actually receive.