PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A woman accused of dumping her quadriplegic son in the woods at a park so she could spend the week with her out-of-state boyfriend will face an attempted murder charge, police said Tuesday.
Nyia Parler has been hospitalized for undisclosed reasons in Maryland since hours after her 21-year-old son was found last Friday in a pile of wet leaves in Cobb Creek Park in Philadelphia next to his wheelchair and a Bible. Police said they believe Parler's son had been in the woods all week and was exposed to the cold, rainy weather and to wild animals.
Police said they have added attempted murder to an initial slate of charges listed in an arrest warrant Saturday. Those charges include aggravated assault, kidnapping and neglect of a care-dependent person.
Police said they did not expect to arrest the 41-year-old Parler until she was cleared for release from the hospital and charged in Maryland as a fugitive. They would then seek to have her extradited.
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Department in Maryland said Monday security reasons prevented it from disclosing the name of the facility where Parler is being held and medical privacy laws prevented it from discussing her health condition.
It's unclear if Parler has a lawyer who could comment on the charges
Parler's son, who has cerebral palsy, was found around the corner from his home by a man who saw the wheelchair and went to investigate.
If the man hadn't done that, Philadelphia police Lt. John Walker said, "this kid would have died a miserable death."
The son was hospitalized in stable condition Monday after being treated for dehydration, malnutrition and abrasions, Walker said. His condition Tuesday wasn't immediately available.
Parler told concerned relatives last week that she had taken her son with her when she went to visit her boyfriend, police said. The son attends a public high school that had inquired about his absences, they said.
Police contend that Parler boarded a bus to visit her boyfriend after leaving her son in the woods near their west Philadelphia home. The boyfriend thought that family members were watching the son, police said.
The man who discovered the woman's son in the woods said he had been trying to take pictures of deer for his grandchildren. Fitzroy Anderson, a hospital custodian, said he was following the deer deeper into the woods when he spotted the wheelchair and went to investigate, then saw something wrapped in a blanket. He nudged the blanket with his foot — and it moved, he said.
"God got a lot to do with it," he said. "If it wasn't for those two deer and God, that young man wouldn't be alive today."