HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio — A Shelbyville woman has been ruled competent to stand trial for allegedly abandoning her 5-year-old son, who is nonverbal and has autism, on the side of an Ohio road in February.
A report stated 32-year-old Heather Nicole Adkins has mental health issues, but confirmed she's competent to stand trial, according to WLWT in Cincinnati.
(NOTE: The above video is a report on a February jailhouse interview with Adkins)
Adkins waived her appearance for Tuesday's court hearing. Attorneys said they need time to gather info and find expert witnesses.
Adkins is charged with child endangerment and kidnapping in Hamilton County, Ohio. Prosecutor Joe Deters explained the law allows for a kidnapping charge, even though the 5-year-old she's accused of abandoning is her biological son.
Police in Colerain, Ohio, said the 5-year-old was driven to Colerain Township, which is near Cincinnati, on a cold and rainy February day and dropped off at a dead-end street near a creek that was flooded.
The boy was found walking along the road about an hour after being abandoned.
Because he's nonverbal, police sent out a call to the public on social media asking anyone who may know the boy or his parents to contact them.
James Love with the Colerain Township Police Department, said officers spent hours knocking on doors, hoping they'd find the child's family.
"I fully expected to find his parents in the morning," Love said. "Oftentimes, children, especially those who are autistic, wander out of bed and the parent calls later frantic. But by 10 a.m., no call."
That's when he said he "knew something wasn't right," and it became a criminal investigation. That investigation led to the arrest of Adkins.
Adkins was arrested at a gas station in Kentucky in February on an unrelated charge. When she was arrested, police said she gave them a false name, but they were able to match her social security number.
It wasn't until later that they found out she was wanted in Ohio on charges related to the abandonment of her 5-year-old son.
In a jailhouse interview with a reporter from WKYT, Adkins gave conflicting information on who she left the child with before admitting she didn't leave him with anyone.
When asked why she would abandon him and leave him somewhere all by himself, Adkins responded, "To save him from me."
Adkins' final pre-trial hearing is set for Aug. 24 and her trial is set for Sept. 12.