Mom sentenced to 6 months of mental health treatment for abandoning 5-year-old autistic, nonverbal son

Heather Adkins was sentenced for abandoning her 5-year-old autistic, nonverbal son on a cold,...
Heather Adkins was sentenced for abandoning her 5-year-old autistic, nonverbal son on a cold, rainy, dark street. Surveillance cameras captured the boy wandering the neighborhood.(Hamilton County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 2:17 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CINCINNATI (WXIX/Gray News) – An Indiana mother was sentenced Wednesday for abandoning her 5-year-old autistic, nonverbal son on a cold, dark, rainy street in February.

Heather Adkins, 33, was ordered to undergo six months of mental health and substance abuse treatment at River City Correctional Facility, followed by three years of probation. She was also ordered to have no contact with the child.

The story made national headlines in February when neighborhood surveillance video captured the young boy being kicked out of a vehicle and then wandering the street alone. Passing motorists noticed the child and called 911 for help.

Once the boy was in the care of the police, his photo was shared on social media in hopes of finding his family.

Residents of Shelbyville, Ohio – 70 miles away from where the boy was found – recognized him as Martin Thomas Adkins.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters described the situation as “heartbreaking.”

“I’m certain he was confused and hurt. His mother, being the person with whom he totally depended upon, dumps him on a dangerous road, in the pouring rain, to fend for himself, 70 miles from his home,” Deters said.

Adkins was arrested in Kentucky two days later for an unrelated outstanding warrant.

Adkins initially claimed in a jailhouse interview that she left Martin with a friend and did not abandon him. However, her story changed several times, and she eventually admitted she left her son alone.

“No, I didn’t leave him with anyone. I knew I would be forgiven. It would take a long time. I just had to be able to get rid of one last demon. All the burdens that I’ve carried for all these years that were never meant to be mine,” Adkins said in the interview.

Akins was indicted in March on kidnapping and child endangerment charges that could have put her in prison for up to 11 years. But in a plea deal, she pleaded guilty to endangering children, and the kidnapping charge was dropped.