Records: Slain boy told Missouri authorities about abuse
May 12, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An emaciated boy whose father later killed him and fed his remains to the family's pigs told Missouri authorities two years before his death that his dad and stepmother were abusing him, state records show.
Adrian Jones was 5 in July 2013 when he told a Missouri Children's Division worker and a police officer that his father would kick him so hard on the back of his head that a "little bone come out," according to agency records released this week to media outlets in response to an open records request. The boy's remains were found in November 2015 on the family's Kansas City, Kansas, rental property after officers responding to a report of domestic abuse learned the then-7-year-old boy was missing.
The boy's father, Michael Jones, a 46-year-old bail bondsman, was sentenced Monday to life in prison for killing Adrian. Adrian's stepmother, 31-year-old Heather Jones, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty last year. Neither is eligible for parole for at least 25 years.
An attorney and spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Social Services didn't immediately return phone and email messages left by The Associated Press on Thursday seeking comment about the state records that show Adrian had reported being abused.
Adrian told a Missouri child-welfare case worker who went in mid-2013 to the family's home in Plattsburg, near Kansas City, that "daddy kicks me," the records show. The boy added that his dad "keeps hitting me in the head and punches me in the stomach and mom keeps pulling on my ears and it really hurts."
The Joneses "always lock me in my room. I have to sleep without a pillow and blanket," the records quote Adrian as saying. He added that his stepmother "keeps being mean to me."
The nearly 460 pages of documents released by the Department of Social Services, which includes the Missouri Children's Division, show that while the Joneses denied abusing Adrian or other children in their care, state welfare officials found in 2013 that "a preponderance of evidence" suggested the boy had been neglected by being locked in his bedroom. Investigators and medical staff found no visible signs of physical abuse, the records show. A county juvenile officer suggested the family be provided more services, but the family then moved to Kansas.
Judy Conway, Adrian's maternal grandmother, credited Missouri authorities Thursday for releasing the records but found them damning. "I just knew somehow that the system has failed Adrian," she added.
"He even said it at times in his own words that he was being abused, and I don't even know at this point how much they helped him and why the kids weren't taken away," Conway said. "I don't care what child it is, if he says someone is hurting me I think someone should listen. At this time, I don't know. I'm just so totally confused."
Conway's daughter, Dainna Pearce, lost custody of Adrian and two of his siblings years ago. Judy Conway has said she's seen videos and digital photos from the Jones' home that showed the abuse Adrian suffered in his life's waning months, much of it chronicled by more than 30 security cameras set up throughout the home.
Conway has said the Joneses kept Adrian naked in a shower stall and modified it so he couldn't get out. She said they sometimes strapped her grandson to an inversion table and that they made him stand in a swimming pool overnight, up to his neck in stagnant water. Conway said Heather Jones sometimes beat Adrian with the end of a broom handle and kept alarms on the family's food so that he couldn't take any when he was hungry.
The Kansas Department for Children and Families' chief, Phyllis Gilmore, said last week that her agency last had contact with the family in early 2012. The department's records involving Adrian remain under court-ordered seal.
Gilmore said that the family's frequently alternating residency between Kansas and Missouri "greatly disrupted continuity of services and evaluation," but she insisted Kansas child-welfare officials often shared information about Adrian "when known" with their Missouri counterparts.
Gilmore said her agency "thoroughly investigated" each reported incident of alleged abuse or neglect involving Adrian, though she did not divulge the number of cases or their context.
Messages seeking comment from that agency also were left Thursday by the AP.
Associated Press reporter Heather Hollingsworth contributed to this report.