Gabriel McFarland

Photo of Gabriel McFarland, a newborn baby wearing a cotton hat and pale blue sweater.Name: Gabriel McFarland.
Died: April 22, 2014.
Age at death: 4 months.
Cause of death: Head injury.
Location: Des Moines, Iowa, USA.
Disability: Deaf in one ear.

Gabriel’s birth parents were teenagers who decided to give him up for adoption. In an open adoption, they chose Rachel and Heidi McFarland to be Gabriel’s adoptive mothers. The McFarlands were there at Gabriel’s birth to cut the cord and take him home from the hospital. When they found out that Gabriel was deaf in one ear, they began learning sign language.

But Gabriel’s birth parents had never completely signed away their parental rights, and when Gabriel was a few months old, his birth mother decided not to go through with the adoption and took him back. Five weeks later, she left him alone with his birth father, who shook and beat Gabriel until he died from severe head injuries.

Case status:
Drew James Weehler-Smith (Birth father), convicted of murder, sentenced to 17 to 50 years and a $150,000 fine.

ADOPTION TWIST: Three Mothers Mourn Baby’s Death
Iowa couple win $3.25m after adopted baby killed by dad
Couple Wins $3.25 Million After Adopted Baby Was Reclaimed By Birth Parents And Killed By Father