Mom of quadriplegic man abandoned in woods to face attempted murder charge

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If it hadn't been for a good Samaritan and a pair of deer, the young quadriplegic man who was abandoned in the Philadelphia woods may have died.

The mother of a quadriplegic man who was abandoned in the woods is now facing an attempted murder charge.

Nyia Parler, 41, has been hospitalized for undisclosed reasons in Maryland since hours after her 21-year-old son, Daequan Norman, was found last Friday in a pile of wet leaves in Cobb Creek Park in Philadelphia. 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.

Norman has cerebral palsy, has to use a wheelchair and has no verbal communication skills.

According to authorities, Parler left the young man on the ground in Cobb Creek Park with only a blanket and a Bible, then boarded a bus to visit her boyfriend in Maryland.

The boyfriend thought that family members were watching the son, police said, while relatives believed Parler took Norman with her to Maryland.

Police said they have added attempted murder to an initial slate of charges listed in Parler's arrest warrant Saturday. Those charges include aggravated assault, simple assault, kidnapping, reckless endangerment, neglect of a care-dependent person, false imprisonment and related offenses.

Police said they did not expect to arrest 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.

Norman remained hospitalized Tuesday in stable condition after being treated for dehydration, malnutrition and abrasions.

If it hadn't been for a good Samaritan, police said the young quadriplegic man may have died in the woods.

Fitzroy Anderson said he was out walking Friday evening near Cobbs Creek Park when he spotted two deer.

"When I came right here I saw two deer, right over there. I got my camera to take my pictures and they ran down the creek," Anderson told WPVI-TV, our sister station in Philadelphia. "So I followed them down the creek and I saw a wheelchair."

When he turned to go back, Anderson saw something else in the underbrush.

"I saw a nice little package, nice and neat. It had a little stick on it. What caught my eye was the stick on it was like a cross. It really caught my eye," he said.

Anderson nudged it with his foot and something moved. Anderson ran, thinking it was a wild animal. However, because of what he found, he soon decided to call police.

Anderson led officers to the package, where police found Daequan, who had been missing for five days.

"And when they opened it, it was a Bible on top of his chest. After I saw the Bible, I just walked away. I didn't see his face, I didn't see what he looked like, I just walked away," he said.


Anderson thanks God for those two deer that led him to Daequan.

"Every time I talk about it, I get emotional. It's very sad, you know. But I got to save a life," Anderson said.

Anderson said he has four children of his own along with two grandchildren. He said he wanted to take a picture of those deer to show his grandkids.

WPVI-TV and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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u.s. & worldmother chargeddisabilitycrimemissing personPennsylvania
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