DALEVILLE — Delaware County Coroner Scott Hahn confirmed the death of a 2-year-old left in a hot car was caused by heat exposure.
Jaxon Stults was found inside a car in the parking lot of Salem Place Apartments, 14700 block of West Davis Drive, around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Stults was pronounced dead in the ambulance on the way to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, Muncie, according to a probable cause affidavit from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.
Stults' mother, Britni Nicole Wihebrink, 28, was arrested at 2:31 a.m. Thursday by sheriff's deputies. Wihebrink was preliminarily charged with Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death, according to the affidavit.
Delaware Circuit Court Judge John M. Feick has found that probable cause existed for her arrest. Feick has ordered that Wihebrink be held without bond.
Wihebrink told investigators that she couldn't remember whether she saw her son after 1 or 2 p.m. because she was intoxicated. She reportedly began drinking at 11 a.m., according to the affidavit.
The mother told investigator Kurt Walthour that she drank two wine coolers and three or four Jim Beam Honey shooters, but she said she may have drank more, according to the affidavit. Investigators found seven empty Jim Beam 50 ml bottles in her home. According to the affidavit, three bottles were found in her purse and four were found in her bedroom drawer.
Wihebrink told the investigator she had a "really good buzz and has a bad drinking problem," the affidavit said. She said that she had started drinking to help her hangover from the night before and did not remember a lot of things that day.
Josh Buston, Wihebrink's friend, told Walthour he was at her house at 11 a.m. and left around noon. Buston told officers he took Wihebrink's keys because she'd already had three Jim Beam shooters, according to the affidavit.
Wihebrink said she took a nap with her 2-year-old around 1 or 2 p.m. She woke up around 3:10 p.m. to let her older son in from school, but she didn't remember if her toddler was with her when she went back to sleep, according to the affidavit.
Wihebrink also said she couldn't remember if she got up to unlock the door or not and that she couldn't even remember if she locked the front door at all that day.
Buston told investigators that he came back around 6:20 p.m. and Wihebrink woke up, unable to find her younger son. Buston said his 15-year-old son found the child lying on the back floorboard of Wihebrink's car, according to the affidavit.
Buston said that the child was very hot and stiff when he went to pick him up, the affidavit said.
Wihebrink initially told investigators that she found her son, then recanted and said she didn't remember who found him.
The Delaware Prosecuting Attorney's office said the investigation is ongoing and nowhere near complete. Given the ongoing nature of the investigation, the prosecutor's office declined to comment further.
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