Mother accused of drinking all day before toddler died in hot car

Mother accused of drinking all day before toddler died in hot car

DALEVILLE, IN (WXIN/CNN) – An Indiana mother who allegedly admitted to a "bad drinking problem" has been arrested and charged with neglect after her 2-year-old son was found dead inside a car.

Charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, 28-year-old Britni Wihebrink is being held in the Delaware County Jail without bond.

She was arrested early Thursday morning, hours after her 2-year-old son Jaxon Stults was found lying in the back of the car.

The coroner confirmed Jaxon's death appears to be heat-related.

As a memorial grows outside Jaxon's apartment, his family and neighbors are struggling to understand what happened.

"Jaxon was playing in the yard. There was a little dog running around. That was the last time I saw him," neighbor Patricia Scott said. "Why would you leave your child in the car?"

Court documents say Wihebrink admitted to police she started drinking around 11 a.m. Wednesday. She said she had two wine coolers and three or four Jim Beam Honey shooters but admitted she may have had more to drink and couldn't remember.

She said she started drinking to help her hangover from the night before, and she did not remember a lot of the events that occurred that day, according to the documents.

Police found seven empty 50 milliliter bottles of Jim Beam in the house. The court documents say Wihebrink admitted to having a "bad drinking problem."

Wihebrink told police the last time she saw Jaxon was around 1 or 2 p.m. when they laid down to take a nap.

Court documents say a friend of Wihebrink's came over around 6:20 p.m. When the mother got out of bed at that time, she couldn't find her toddler.

The friend's 15-year-old son found Jaxon lying on the back floorboard of the car. He picked up the little boy and brought him inside.

Ron Patterson, who was at the American Legion across the street, ran over to the apartment and performed CPR on Jaxon, trying to help the boy until first responders arrived.

"I've never had to do it on a young boy like that, so it was tough," Patterson said.

The 2-year-old was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital.

Wihebrink's friend told police she was drunk when he arrived. He said she kept repeating herself and couldn't remember anything.

The mother and son's next-door neighbor said the two had not been living in the apartment very long.

The case marks the third instance of a heat-related car death this year in Indiana.

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