The Indiana woman accused of abandoning her 5-year-old son on a dark road in Colerain Township has pleaded guilty to child endangerment.
According to court documents, in February, 32-year-old Heather Adkins drove her son Thomas, who is non-verbal and autistic, approximately 75 miles from their Indiana home to another state where he was taken to an unfamiliar, dark, dead-end street and left alone near a flooded creek.
He was eventually discovered about an hour later wandering a nearby road by a man named Ron Reese.
"He seemed cold, he seemed lost, he seemed disheveled, but once he (saw) that there was somebody there, some people there to help him, he began to relax a little bit," Reese said.
Reese said his paternal instincts kicked in when he saw Thomas.
"I knew that I had to do something," Reese said. "Even if no one else is around I knew I had to do something to make sure that this child made it home safe."
While waiting for police to arrive, Reese said he did his best to make sure Thomas, who was cold and soaking wet, felt safe. He shared his dinner and tried to show him the love of a parent, thanking God he found the child.
"He placed me and a little guy in each other's paths so I could help him — to let him know and show him that it's a brighter day," Reese said. "You don't have to go back to where you were going, what you were going through. Someone needs to show this young man what true love really is."
A Ring camera captured 5-year-old Thomas Adkins walking up to someone's front door after his mother abandoned him on a dark rainy night in February:
Adkins was arrested days later on an outstanding warrant for an unpaid traffic ticket at a Georgetown, Kentucky gas station almost 100 miles away from where she allegedly dropped her son. The Georgetown Police Department said they weren't initially aware that Colerain police had filed a warrant for Adkins on child endangerment.
Adkins drove from the family's home in Shelbyville, Ind. to Tennessee where she dropped off two of her children, according to a press release from Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.
She arrived at her friend's house with her 3-year-old and 8-year-old but not Thomas.
“She was like I need you to watch the kids for a couple days,” Adkins' childhood friend Crystalyn Davis said.
“She said she had got in a fight with Kevin, which is the kids’ dad, and that he had pretty much kept Thomas from her,” Davis said. “She said, 'I’m going back up there to get him,' and then I’ll come back and get the two boys.”
She said her friend was gone within 10 minutes.
From jail, Adkins told WCPO she left the child to save him from herself.
Later, she saidshe had to leave him in her car which broke down while she went to a gas station.
In court Monday, Adkins Admitted to the facts of the case but denied that she indented to harm her son.
Her plea did not involve a sentencing agreement. She faces up to three years in prison.
Her sentencing is scheduled for September 28.
Mother accused of abandoning son in Colerain found competent to stand trial
Mental health evaluation to push back trial for man accused of killing Nylo and Nyteisha Lattimore
Body of boy found in Indiana was inside suitcase, police say