Debra Wisler: Mother Allegedly Abandons Disabled 10-Year-Old Son In Forest Because She Couldn’t Get Benefits

Debra Wisler was not able to receive benefits for her 10-year-old disabled son, so police said the mother packed a suitcase and walked the boy into a nearby forest — then left him there.

The 39-year-old woman was arrested in New Jersey this week and charged with child endangerment after allegedly leaving her son outside a nearby military base. Authorities said Wisler had discovered that her son was not eligible for a children’s program at the base, and instead decided to abandon the boy, the New York Daily News reported.

Police said the boy remained in the forest for a while until he fell asleep. The boy woke up hungry and began to wander in the forest close to the base’s visitor center, the report noted. Eventually a driver spotted the abandoned boy and called police, who picked him up.

The boy was treated for some minor injuries, and told police his address and mother’s name, the New York Daily News reported.

Some who know Debra Wisler said they were shocked by the allegations against her. Barbara Todd, who was a teacher’s aide in the boy’s kindergarten and first grade classes, told WPVI that Debra was a loving mother who took good care of her son.

“I was just so shocked because his mom adores him. He was her life and I just can’t believe it. I can’t believe she would do that,” Todd said.

A local news crew caught up with Debra Wisler after her arrest, but the mother did not want to discuss the allegations and offered no explanation for why she left the boy alone.

“I don’t want my business all out there. Just please leave the property. I’m asking you nicely,” Wisler told a reporter from WPVI Action News who came to the woman’s home.


This is not the first time a mother has made headlines for allegedly abandoning a child. In June, authorities in Georgia accused 29-year-old Miranda Harvey of leaving her 4-year-old daughter alone with strangers at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and then skipping town.

As WFLA reported, Harvey allegedly drove 700 miles from her home in Maryland to the airport and then asked a couple to watch her 4-year-old daughter while she shopped. Harvey never returned, and the couple called Atlanta police. Authorities later tracked down the mother at a hotel in Athens, Georgia.


After allegedly abandoning her special needs son in the forest, Debra Wisler was arrested and released. She has a hearing scheduled in Burlington County Superior Court. The state’s Division of Child Protection and Permanency found a temporary home for the boy.

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