Botched Adoption Resulted in the Death of an Infant

Just weeks after being returned to his birth mother, an infant is killed.

Denalee Chapman February 05, 2015
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Markeya Atkins arranged for her baby boy, Gabriel, to be adopted. But after the infant was residing in his adoptive home for some time, she retracted the adoption and Gabriel was returned to his birth mother.

Only weeks later, Markeya left Gabriel in the care of his birth father — a 17-year-old junior in high school, Drew James Weehler-Smith. When she returned she saw the baby’s father driving away without the baby. Rushing in, Markeya found Gabriel in a chair. His mouth was foaming and he was unresponsive. With a friend by her side, she called 911 and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.  The baby died.

With a trial set to take place this month, Weehler-Smith struck a deal.  He pled guilty to 2nd degree murder, which means his sentence now will be significantly shorter.

The adoptive couple, the McFarlands, are suing attorney, Jason Rieper, for the botched adoption. Reiper allowed the couple to believe he had the birth mother’s signature on a release-of-custody document. When in reality, he didn’t have it.

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Denalee Chapman

Denalee is an adoptive mother, a motivational speaker, a writer, and a lover of life. She and her husband have adventured through the hills and valleys of life to find that the highest highs and the lowest lows are equally fulfilling. Book Denalee to speak to your group, or find Denalee's writings, including her books on her website at

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