MUNCIE — A Daleville mother charged with neglect after her 2-year-old son died in a vehicle of heat exhaustion had her sentencing reset for July 29 after pleading guilty in Delaware Circuit Court 4.

Britni N. Wihebrink, 30, entered a guilty plea on June 3 to a Level 1 felony charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

Judge John Feick set sentencing for July 1. Her sentencing date was reset for July 29 to allow the probation department to complete the pre-sentence investigation.

She is facing a maximum 30-year prison sentence. A Level 6 felony charge of obstruction of justice will be dismissed at the time of sentencing.

During her court appearance, Wihebrink admitted that on Sept. 5, 2018, she was drinking to the point of intoxication when she fell asleep at her Daleville apartment, according to the Delaware County Prosecutor’s office.

Wihebrink tested with a blood alcohol content of .155.

At some point during the day, her 2-year-old son Jaxon Stults left the apartment and climbed into her parked car and closed the door, eventually passing out.

Wihebrink told police that she couldn’t remember whether she saw her son after 1 or 2 p.m. that day when they laid down for a nap because she was intoxicated and had begun drinking at 11 a.m. to help with a hangover from the night before, according to a police affidavit.

Investigators found seven empty 50-milliliter Jim Beam bottles in her home — three bottles were found in her purse and four were found in a bedroom drawer.

A friend woke Wihebrink around 6:20 p.m., and she was unable to find Jaxon. At about 6:45 p.m., the toddler was found lying on the back floorboard of Wihebrink’s car, according to a police affidavit.

The friend told police that Wihebrink was drunk when he arrived at the apartment and Jaxon was found by the friend’s teenage son.

At first, Wihebrink told investigators that she found her son, then recanted and said she didn’t remember who found him.

Jaxon died in an ambulance on the way to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie.

An autopsy found the child died as a result of hyperthermia, with a contributing cause of elevated temperature in an enclosed space.

Follow Ken de la Bastide

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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