A mother in a small New Jersey township is accused of doing the unthinkable. After her 10-year-old son had been found in a forest just off of the local military base, Debra Wisler was arrested on child endangerment charges. It seems this mother packed up a suitcase and dumped the child to fend for himself in the woods.
Wisler contends this was her only option after the boy was not allowed to participate in a base sponsored program. According to a new report about the events:
“State police say the boy was found Thursday by a passing motorist who saw him walking in the woods near the visitors center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
The boy told employees at the center that his mother walked him into the woods and left him there, according to authorities. He said he fell asleep and woke up hungry.
The child was treated there for minor injuries. Officials say they located his mother, 39-year-old Millville Township resident Debra Wisler, after he gave them her name.”
At the time motorists found the boy walking by the military base, he was taken to be seen by military emergency personnel for treatment. He was given food, water and was treated for dehydration. It was not made public the type of disability the boy had, but he was able to tell the responders where to find his mother.
The young boy also told responders that his mother packed a suitcase for him and that was left with him. He knew she was leaving him in the woods and he had fallen asleep. He woke up alone with the suitcase when he started to feel hungry.
After the police had arrived on the scene, the boy was taken into protective state custody. He will remain in state care until the case is sorted out. The mother was arrested on child endangerment charges but has since been released.
An interesting focus, in this case, is the fact that the mother seems to be using her son’s disability as a way to justify simply dropping him off to take care of himself. Without the handicap, it seems there would be no real excuse for this random behavior. Instead, the boy having special needs almost makes it something many might understand as being a desperate cry for help.
Similiar types of excuses and reactions often occur when a child with special needs is hurt or even killed by their parents. An example of this took place during the murder trial tied to the death of London McCabe. The six-year-old boy was thrown off a bridge in Oregon by his mother. This happened after she has problems getting him services as he had autism.
When London was murdered, the focus was not on the terrible crime. Instead, there was much more time dedicated to talking about how much of a burden the child must have been and many even in some way understanding the extreme act committed by the mother.
At first, the mother contended like Wisler that she was just pushed too far by the stress and snapped. This was not found to be the case as the evidence was released. According to a news report about this case:
“McCabe called 911 and told emergency dispatchers that she had just thrown her son off the bridge. She claimed voices told her to do it and that she should jump as well.
On Tuesday, Lincoln County District Attorney Michelle Branam said McCabe, 36, was “rightfully” sentenced to life in prison for the murder of her son. McCabe won’t be eligible for parole for 25 years.
During a news conference that included McCabe’s ex-husband and his parents, the prosecutor detailed how the mother spent more than a month researching ways to kill her only son and get away with it.”
Sadly this type of situation is not all that uncommon. A quick search finds a long laundry list of small children, often boys, either hurt or killed by their parents as a way out of taking care of a child with special needs. As troubling as this is alone, it is more upsetting to think that many see this as being less of abuse because the children are not typical.