Tennessee Woman Fakes Death of 12-Year-Old Autistic Son; Leaves him Alone in a Motel For 2 Weeks

The boy's school arranged a fundraiser to help cover the cost of his funeral.

A Tennessee woman was arrested for allegedly faking the death of her 12-year-old son, who is autistic. She reportedly left her autistic son alone in a motel room for weeks. Clarksville resident, Vanessa Blanchard, 39, is the mother of a 12-year-old with autism, who goes to New Providence Middle School, according to the arrest warrant.

According to the arrest warrant obtained by WKRN, a school resource officer from New Providence Middle School contacted Vanessa Blanchard on October 29 to ask why her son didn't attend school for the last two days. Vanessa then told the officer that her son died after suffering a seizure two days earlier.

The school then raised money to help cover the cost of her son's funeral. The school was in for a surprise when they contacted Sykes Funeral Home and got to know that no funeral arrangements were made for Vanessa's son. When the school contacted Vanessa Blanchard again, she told them that she was awaiting the results of an autopsy at Terranova Hospital in Clarksville.

Vanessa Blanchard
Vanessa Blanchard Montgomery County Sheriff's Office

The woman left her autistic son in a motel

Officials discovered on November 16 that Vanessa's son's school-issued laptop was being used at the Vacation Motor Motel. Deputies with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office arrived at the motel to find the boy safe and sound, who happened to be living there all on his own for more than two weeks.

Vanessa Blanchard later admitted to having left his autistic son in the motel all on his own. She would, however, check on him to see how he was doing daily or every other day. The motive behind her move was not clear.

Vanessa Blanchard was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a child and a false impression of death.

The boy's classmates were devastated

According to Clarksville Now, Ally Cole, a mother whose son attended school with the boy, said classmates and teachers were devastated on hearing about his death. "Kids in class were crying over his death. My son and some friends had made a shrine in homeroom at his old seat," Cole said.