Lawrence police on Wednesday arrested a Northlake, Ill., couple after officers discovered two children bound and blindfolded in the family vehicle that contained three other children.
The older Chevrolet Suburban with no plates was parked at Walmart, 550 Congressional Drive, and about 11 a.m. a customer called police after she noticed what appeared to be a child, whose hands were bound, standing outside the vehicle, said Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence police spokesman. The child also was blindfolded.
Police eventually surrounded the vehicle, which was on the west end of the parking lot.
A 52-year-old man was detained near the vehicle after he resisted officers.
“A Taser was used when the adult male was actively resisting arrest,” McKinley said.
A woman was taken into custody inside the store without incident.
The man and woman, who police believe are the children’s biological parents, were arrested on two counts of child abuse and five counts of endangering a child, McKinley said. The man also was arrested on a charge of felony obstruction. Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said prosecutors would review information in the case to make a decision about filing formal charges.
The Journal-World generally does not identify suspects unless they are formally charged.
Initially at least three of the five children refused to leave the vehicle, and the two younger children, ages 5 and 7, were taken into protective custody. Then at 11:45 a.m. three teenagers left the vehicle and got into cars with investigators. The five children involved are ages 5 to 15, and police were working with Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services employees about protective custody for the children.
McKinley said Wednesday afternoon police think the 5-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl had their hands bound and were blindfolded.
Medics examined people at the scene, but no one was taken to the hospital. Officers also were examining the vehicle, which had sheets covering the windows, the sergeant said.
Police think the family members were traveling from North Lake, Ill., to Arizona when they experienced car trouble on Interstate 70 and had been in Walmart’s parking lot since Monday evening.
A Walmart spokeswoman said Wednesday afternoon the store was cooperating with Lawrence police, including reviewing surveillance video and turning it over to officers.
The man detained by police was still in custody as of Wednesday night, being held without bond.