A mom who left her disabled son in the woods was arrested on a host of charges after abandoning her adult quadriplegic son before hopping on a bus to visit her boyfriend in Maryland. For nearly five days, the man was unable to move, left to fend for himself in a densely wooded area. A hiker found the starved and forsaken man, deserted by a Philadelphia mother who left her incapacitated son with only two items – not food or water, but a blanket and a Bible.
Writes CNN on April 12: “For more than four days, police say, a 21-year-old quadriplegic with cerebral palsy was left lying in the woods of Philadelphia’s Cobbs Creek Park with only a blanket and a Bible. The person responsible is the man’s mother, who on Sunday faced a host of charges after allegedly abandoning her son and catching a bus to Maryland to see her boyfriend, said Philadelphia police Lt. John Walker.”
The name of the 21-year-old has not been released. Police said the son is a quadriplegic and suffers from cerebral palsy. He was found Friday night, near his wheelchair, inside of Cobbs Creek Park, part of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park System and the largest urban park in the country. Although the man cannot talk, it was determined that his mother abandoned him on Monday March 6.
A hiker literally stumbled over him and called 911. He is being treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for malnutrition, dehydration, hypothermia from temperatures dropping into the 30s, cuts and a potentially serious infections stemming from one of the gashes he sustained while attempting to crawl out.
Officials identified the mother as Nyia Parler, 41, of Baltimore Avenue in West Philadelphia. According CNN, Parler was arrested on “charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment of another person, neglect of a care-dependent person, unlawful restraint, kidnapping and false imprisonment.”
“This kid’s obviously a fighter,” said Philadelphia Police Lt. John Walker. “It’s just unbelievable how we found him out there…It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see another human, especially a mother, can treat someone like that.” Walker said police have expanded their investigation and are looking at the care and living conditions given to the son by his mother.
Relatives had not seen Parler or her son since March 5. When he failed to show up for school Monday at the Future in West Philadelphia, officials called Parler, who would not answer her phone. They then contacted an emergency number – Parler’s sisters, who turned the matter over to police after not being able to get in touch with their sister.
When Parler – who also has a 16-year-old boy currently living with one of the aunts – was finally contacted, she lied and told officials that her son was with her in Maryland. That proved false when the report came of a starved and disabled man found near a wheelchair in Cobbs woods.
Adds the Philadelphia Daily News: “Relatives were at the hospital with him, including two aunts who Walker said had tried to obtain guardianship of him in the last few years.”
Lt. Walker said the mother has “clear criminal liability in this case,” adding that the home where the man lived with his mother didn’t have a required wheelchair access ramp. “There will be a longer-term portion of this investigation to see what happened here as far as this kid and the care that’s been provided to him for basically his entire life.”
Walker said the man is fortunate to be alive after his ordeal. “This kid cannot defend himself,” Walker said. “He does not function at all. It could have been a lot worse than it is.”