SPRINGFIELD TWP., New Jersey - A woman has been arrested for allegedly abandoning her 10-year-old special needs son in the woods, the New Jersey State Police say.
Debra Wisler, 39, of Millville Township, was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
She was released and charged pending a court date.
Action News went to Wisler's home in Millville on Tuesday afternoon, hoping to get her side of the story. But she stopped us before we even set foot on her property.
"I don't want my business all out there. Just please leave the property. I'm asking you nicely," Wisler told Action News from her porch.
According to police, a passing motorist discovered the child on Thursday in a wooded area near the visitor's center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, more than 70 miles from the family home.
The boy was given food and water and checked out by military first responders. He was found to have minor, non-life-threatening injuries.
The child told police his mother walked him into the woods with his luggage and left him there. He then said he fell asleep and woke up hungry, police say.
He gave officials his mother's name, and they contacted Wisler.
According to state police, detectives determined that Wisler abandoned her son when she discovered he was not eligible for a child program at Joint Base McGuire-Dix.
Barbara Todd, who says she was the boy's teacher's aide in kindergarten and first grade, is floored by the accusation.
"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.
People who live nearby also say they cannot come to grips with what the suspect is accused of doing.
Division of Child Protection and Permanency was contacted and they were able to locate a temporary home for the boy, police say.
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Police: NJ mom left special needs son, 10, in woods