Archive for Thursday, May 26, 2011

De Soto woman sentenced to more than eight years for keeping malnourished son in attic

May 26, 2011, 11:37 a.m. Updated May 26, 2011, 3:27 p.m.


Rachel Perez, 26, of De Soto, is facing charges of child abuse and aggravated child endangerment after Johnson County sheriff's deputies found her malnourished, 6 year-old son confined in the attic of her home on the 8200 block of Center Drive.

Rachel Perez, 26, of De Soto, is facing charges of child abuse and aggravated child endangerment after Johnson County sheriff's deputies found her malnourished, 6 year-old son confined in the attic of her home on the 8200 block of Center Drive.

A woman charged with locking her malnourished son in the attic of her De Soto home was sentenced to more than eight years in prison Thursday morning.

Johnson County District Judge Peter Ruddick gave Rachel Perez the maximum sentence for each of these counts:

• Attempted second-degree murder, 61 months.

• Child abuse, 34 months.

• Aggravated child endangerment, seven months.

Perez pleaded guilty to all three charges on March 18.

Perez's 6-year-old son was found Aug. 19 by Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies who came to the home at the request of Perez’s grandmother, Patricia Moran.

The sentence that Ruddick handed down is significantly more than the 60 to 61 months Perez's attorney, Jason Billiam, asked for in light of the late-added charge of attempted murder.

"This case began with just the charges of child abuse and aggravated child endangerment and that's truly what this case is about," Billiam said before the court. "The charge of attempted murder was just added to increase my client's potential time, it doesn't make sense."

As he had in Perez's earlier court appearances, Billiam argued that Perez never showed intent to kill her son, who has Down Syndrome and weighed less than 20 pounds when he was rescued from her attic.

"I love my son, he's my baby," said Perez in her final plea to the court. "I don't know why I did what I did, I just panicked at the thought of losing him (to social services)."

Perez presented photos of her son and two daughters taken before her arrest and the boy's hospitalization, stating they showed proof of her love for her children.

The foster mother for the children, Stacy Eastwood, the children's great-aunt, also spoke before the court, asking that Perez receive the maximum sentence. She testified about the boy demonstrating the abuse he claims to have received from Perez, hands around his throat and punches being thrown at him, and spoke about the confusion experienced by Perez's daughters.

"These girls have overwhelming feelings of guilt and helplessness, (the boy) suffers from PTSD, we try to help them heal from their past but we can't know what they went through," Eastwood said. "For Rachel Perez to receive a sentence that would be less than how long her son has been alive would be a great injustice in my eyes."

Ruddick agreed with Eastwood, handing down the maximum sentence.

"Ms. Perez and her attorney keep trying to make a logical explanation for her actions but I find them unfathomable regardless," he said. "The maximum sentence in this case is still not terribly long, given what happened to her son."

The boy is recovering well, and Moran estimates he weighs at least 45 pounds. Perez's youngest child, a boy born while she was in custody, is also in foster care but it is unknown where.

"All three of the kids are doing great, they're with fantastic foster parents," Moran said. "We (Moran and Perez's father, Martin Foster), still get to see them and they're in good hands."


horseshoehalo1 6 years, 11 months ago

She deserves waaaay more than eight years, and she needs her tubes tied.

tomatogrower 6 years, 11 months ago

26? With 5 children. Did she only get abstinence only sex education?

Kyle Chandler 6 years, 11 months ago

There obviously isn't a Planned Parenthood in De Soto. But we wouldn't want someone like her getting an abortion/morning after pill now would we? That would be a sin right?.

Haiku_Cuckoo 6 years, 11 months ago

Do you think pro-lifers are culpable in this situation?

ksjayhawk74 6 years, 11 months ago

If she was selling pot within 1,000 feet of a school, the sentence would have been 46-83 months. If she was growing more than 5 marijuana plants, the sentence would have been 138-204 months...

Good thing all she did was mentally & physically abuse, neglect and almost kill her handicapped child.

Richard Payton 6 years, 11 months ago

No attic in prison Roe. Have her stand in the cafeteria while the cook's prepare food and then throw her in the hole without food for a week. Pay back for what she did to that boy. Lucky, I wasn't the judge. I do like that the judge gave her the max.

avetaysmom 6 years, 11 months ago

I agree with..ksjayhawk74, so sad that a human life is worth so much less than the sentencing from drugs, this little boy will and so will his siblings, suffer the rest of their life for what they went through, this lady isn't stupid, she is selfish, dumb and deserves to be in prison for way longer than 8 years!

conservative 6 years, 11 months ago

8 years seems like more than enough as long as they aren't going to feed her.

somedude20 6 years, 11 months ago

I hope the law can legally render her unable to have any more children. Didn't they use to make male sex offenders unable to have sex by using meds or surgery?

ebyrdstarr 6 years, 11 months ago

The justices who ruled punitive sterilizations to be unconstitutional in Oklahoma v. Skinner (1942) were not "misguided human rights types." They were just good and honorable people who were undoubtedly keenly aware of the unfortunate history of compulsory sterilizations forced on women, usually only minority women or those with mental illness or developmental disabilities. Often, these women were sterilized without their knowledge. They were told they were going into the hospital for some other procedure.

The case, though, did not strictly speaking rule all compulsory sterilizations to be unconstitutional, so sterilizations based on mental illness and developmental disabilities continued through the 60s or so. Furthermore, it's not entirely clear based on Oklahoma v. Skinner that punitive sterilizations would be unconstitutional in a statute drafted differently from the Oklahoma statute.

Fortunately, though, no one has tried to return us to the dark days of forced sterilizations.

kernal 6 years, 11 months ago

Less than ten years? Evidently there's still no justice for children.

ryknow1976 6 years, 11 months ago

And here I thought meth made people sterile.

letsgiterdone 6 years, 11 months ago

I agree with Pywacket....who "fathered" these kids and where are they now, and why are they not in prison for child endangerment also?

the woman obviously needed help and has probably needed help for many years. It's not just her......where's the dude?

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