Iowa couple wins $3.25M after adopted son was killed

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa couple whose adopted baby was killed after his birth parents regained custody in 2014 has won a $3.25 million judgment in a lawsuit against their adoption lawyer.

The Des Moines Register reports that Rachel and Heidi McFarland were awarded the judgment Tuesday in a lawsuit against their attorney, Jason Rieper. The couple alleged in their lawsuit that Rieper allowed them to believe he’d gotten the baby’s birth mother to sign a critical release-of-custody document when he had not done so.

The 3-month-old baby, Gabriel McFarland, died on April 22, 2014, about five weeks after his birth mother got him back from the McFarlands. The child’s father, 17-year-old Drew James Weehler-Smith, was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 2015.