A woman left her quadriplegic son, who has cerebral palsy, in the woods for several days and went to visit her boyfriend in Maryland, police said yesterday. The 21-year-old son was found lying in the leaves covered with a blanket next to a wheelchair and a Bible near Cobbs Creek Park in southwest Philadelphia on Friday night. Police described the son as severely disabled and said he was unable to communicate how he got there. They say their investigation indicates he was left there Monday, when his mother boarded a bus for Montgomery County, Maryland. The son was hospitalized with dehydration, malnutrition, a cut to his back, and eye injuries, Lt. John Walker says.
"This kid's obviously a fighter," Walker says. "To see that kid laying there, it's heartbreaking to see that another human—especially a mother—could treat someone like that." Walker says the son was exposed to the elements and other dangers. "A lot of things could have happened out there," he says. "Obviously he's in the middle of a wooded area. You have wild animals there ... this kid could not defend himself. He does not function at all." The son's school became concerned about him and called an aunt. When the mother was contacted in Maryland, police say, she lied about his whereabouts. "She indicated to both family members and police officers that the child was with her down ... in Maryland," Walker says. No charges have been filed in the case.