Video shows abandoned boy searching for help

Posted at 8:54 AM, March 22, 2022 and last updated 12:22 AM, December 13, 2022

By Whitney Miller

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WCPO) — Home surveillance videos show an Indiana boy abandoned by his mother in Colerain Township searching for help.

A Ring camera captured 5-year-old Thomas Adkins walking up to someone’s front door on a rainy night in February. Police said his mother, Heather Adkins, abandoned Thomas in Colerain Township before dropping off two of her children with a friend in Tennessee.


Video shows Thomas wandering around the neighborhood alone. He was eventually spotted by Ron Reese, who noticed the child on Sheed Road.

“He seemed cold, he seemed lost, he seemed disheveled, but once he (saw) that there was somebody there, some people there to help him, he began to relax a little bit,” Reese said.

Reese called 911 and tried to make sure Thomas, who is non-verbal and has autism, felt safe. Body cameras captured the moment first responders arrived.

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“We got him out of the street and talked him into the car,” one bystander told police. “He’s not real responsive.”

Heather Adkins, charged with kidnapping and child endangering after she abandoned her son on a dark road in Colerain Township, could face up to 11 years in prison. The 32-year-old mother was indicted on Friday, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said. Adkins is accused of abandoning her 5-year-old, non-verbal son on a dark road in the rain. The boy was found by passing driver Ron Reese, who stopped to help. (WCPO)

Paramedics made sure Thomas was physically OK.

“He definitely needs some dry clothes and to get out of that stuff,” a firefighter said.

Thomas was put in a police cruiser and taken back to the station, where an officer began asking him questions in hopes of finding a lead.

“Do you want your mom or do you want to go home?” the officer asked Thomas. “Home? Yeah? Where’s home at? You don’t know?”

Another officer went door-to-door in the area trying to determine where the boy lived.

Eventually, police determined Thomas was the son of Heather Adkins, who was found at a gas station 90 miles away in Georgetown, Kentucky. Behind bars, Adkins said she left Thomas to “save him from (herself).”

Adkins is in Hamilton County jail awaiting trial on charges of kidnapping and child endangerment. Her bond was set at $100,000.

This story was originally published March 21 by WCPO in Cincinnati, an E.W. Scripps Company.