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Archive for Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prosecutors charge Illinois parents after children were found bound, blindfolded

June 14, 2012, 9:49 a.m. Updated June 14, 2012, 6:39 p.m.

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Adolfo Gomez, 52, receives several court documents as he waits for a first appearance Thursday at the Douglas County Jail. Gomez and his wife, Deborah Gomez, 43, are each facing two counts of child abuse and five counts of aggravated endangerment of a child. Adolfo Gomez is also facing one count of felony obstruction. The couple are from Northlake, Ill.

Adolfo Gomez, 52, receives several court documents as he waits for a first appearance Thursday at the Douglas County Jail. Gomez and his wife, Deborah Gomez, 43, are each facing two counts of child abuse and five counts of aggravated endangerment of a child. Adolfo Gomez is also facing one count of felony obstruction. The couple are from Northlake, Ill.

Deborah Gomez reads through court documents as she waits for a first appearance at the Douglas County Jail on Thursday, June 14, 2012. Gomez, along with her husband, Adolfo Gomez, are each facing two counts of child abuse and five counts of aggravated endangerment of a child. Adolfo Gomez is also facing one count of felony obstruction.

Deborah Gomez reads through court documents as she waits for a first appearance at the Douglas County Jail on Thursday, June 14, 2012. Gomez, along with her husband, Adolfo Gomez, are each facing two counts of child abuse and five counts of aggravated endangerment of a child. Adolfo Gomez is also facing one count of felony obstruction.

Douglas County prosecutors on Thursday charged two Illinois parents with inflicting “cruel or inhumane corporal punishment” on two of their young children found Wednesday blindfolded with their hands bound behind them in the parking lot of Walmart in west Lawrence.

Adolfo Gomez Jr., 52, and Deborah Martha Gomez, 43, both of Northlake, Ill., face two counts each of child abuse and five counts of aggravated child endangerment. Adolfo Gomez is also charged with one obstruction count because he was accused of resisting Lawrence police officers who subdued him with a Taser Wednesday morning near the family’s vehicle outside the store, 550 Congressional Drive. All counts are felonies.

Thursday’s bond hearing revealed few additional details about the case other than what police had provided, and Sgt. Trent McKinley, a police spokesman, said detectives were still investigating the case trying to learn more about why the young children had their hands bound. Three older children, ages 12, 13 and 15, were also in the older Chevrolet Suburban that police said had experienced trouble Monday evening as the family was traveling to Arizona. That’s how they ended up in the Walmart parking lot.

Officers were called to Walmart about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday after a customer saw a boy with his hands behind his back near the vehicle on the west side of the parking lot. Police discovered both the 5-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl were blindfolded and had their hands bound behind them.

“This is a very unusual and disturbing type of event. It’s certainly not something that many of us have seen,” McKinley said. “None of us know what would have happened if we didn’t have an intervention by the person who was shopping at Walmart who not only saw something but called the police.”

Charges

Assistant District Attorney James McCabria said he could not comment about specific facts of the case but that prosecutors believed the events fell in line with statutory language in the charges. That included the mention of “cruel or inhumane corporal punishment” on the child abuse charges.

In the aggravated child endangerment counts, the couple are accused of recklessly causing or permitting their five children to be placed in a situation in which their “life, body or health may be endangered.”

Pro-tem Judge James George agreed to set bond for Adolfo and Deborah Gomez at $50,000 each, but there was no discussion of either defendant’s criminal history during the hearing. McCabria said he could not comment on the couple’s criminal history.

“We based (the bond request) on the facts and circumstances of the incident,” he said.

Both Adolfo and Deborah Gomez, who appeared in court separately via video from the Douglas County Jail, said little during their hearing, and they did not protest the requested bond amount. George also ordered them not to have contact with each other or any of their children if they post bond.

George appointed defense attorney Elbridge Griffy to represent Adolfo Gomez and Angela Keck for Deborah Gomez. They are scheduled to appear in court again next Thursday in front of District Judge Paula Martin.

The child abuse counts each carry potential prison sentences of 31 months to 136 months. The aggravated child endangerment and obstruction counts carry sentences of five months to 17 months, although they are presumptive probation unless a defendant has at least two past person-felony convictions.

Protective custody

Police have said that Adolfo Gomez is the father and Deborah Gomez is the mother of the children. Officers said both are from Northlake, Ill., a Chicago suburb. Jail records list the mother’s address as another suburb, Bensenville, Ill., but McKinley said that could be because the parents were uncooperative. Douglas County Jail staff members likely pulled the address from a form of identification, he said.

After officers used a Taser to subdue Adolfo Gomez on Wednesday, they arrested Deborah Gomez inside the store without incident.

Medics checked out the children at the scene, but they were not hospitalized, McKinley said.

After the two younger children were taken into police custody, the three older children initially refused to leave the Suburban until they were later taken into protective custody as well. For now, all five children have been placed in temporary protective custody, pending a court hearing, McKinley said. Police and social workers are working with Illinois social workers. He said they had identified extended family members for the children. During the process a judge could determine if any family members could safely take custody of the children.

“Family members are usually a less traumatic type of placement for children,” McKinley said. “I just don’t know at this point in time what the family’s dynamic is.”

A Chicago NBC affiliate on Thursday quoted a neighbor, Kathy Grotefend, who said she encountered Adolfo and Deborah Gomez last week as they were selling all of their belongings in preparation for the end of the world.

“She said she believes it’s the end of the world and they don’t need this materialistic stuff,” Grotefend told the TV station.

McKinley said detectives were working on answering more questions as well.

“We’re trying to create a time line of what has occurred in past days and weeks with this family,” he said. “We would like to attempt to determine what the adults’ intentions were with the children and as to why the children were bound.”

This isn’t the first time the couple has faced legal troubles, according to The Chicago Tribune.

The newspaper reported that Deborah Gomez pleaded guilty in 1998 to misdemeanor endangering the life of a child and admitted leaving two young sons, who were 2 and 3 at the time, home alone for eight hours one night several months earlier at the family’s apartment in Naperville, Ill. In 2001 prosecutors in DuPage County brought her back to court to force her to comply with counseling and parenting classes.

The newspaper also said Adolfo Gomez served less than 3 years for burglary and theft convictions in 1984 and that he spent 12 days in jail in Illinois earlier this year related to a DUI conviction.

Comments

Kat Christian 1 year, 10 months ago

If these parents are crazy enough to sell all their belongings and uproot their kids like this and claim the world is ending - my God what would they have done to these children? Kill them - then kill themselves? I just think the Walmart Lady came just at the right time. A Guardian Angel was looking over those children. I hope they get help and find a safe and happy home to finish growing up in.

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Clark Coan 1 year, 10 months ago

They could just say they were playing old Blind Man's Bluff.

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rgh 1 year, 10 months ago

Just by looking at her picture it looks like she could use a little support if you know what I mean.

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tbaker 1 year, 10 months ago

Thank God someone decided to get involved and report this.

These two should be sterilized and publically flogged before going to prison.

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shorttrees 1 year, 10 months ago

QUOTE: "The newspaper reported that Deborah Gomez pleaded guilty in 1998 to misdemeanor endangering the life of a child and admitted leaving two young sons, who were 2 and 3 at the time, home alone for eight hours one night several months earlier at the family’s apartment in Naperville, Ill."

Are there more kids out there belonging to this couple? Or is it just lousy math/lousy reporting somewhere along the line? 1998 was 14 years ago, so the kids involved then would 16 & 17 or 17 & 18 if it occurred in '97 and was prosecuted in '98.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 10 months ago

This whole affair simply befuddles the mind. First of all, why is this "family" (if indeed they are all related) so large? Oh I forgot some kooky religions shun birthcontrol and abortion. How about personal responsibility? Making so many babies that they could not support or house or feed? And then there kis the mental illness that some people seem to suffer when it comes to "Bible teaching" and downright fraudulant religious "ministers" who are only seeking to line their pockets with other people's money for the "Kingdom of God"

Seems "God" gets blamed for the stupidity and ignorance of some of his creatures.

I am counfounded by stories like this. The Diving Power of the Universe (whatever you want to call Him (or Her) gave us the capacity to think, plan, and prosper. Why is it that some fall so completely short of their capabilities??

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conlawgrad 1 year, 10 months ago

I don't disagree with bringing charges here. Cleary, that has to happen. And of course people have to be charged within a certain amount of time or they can be released. I understand and accept those principles. But geesh...this case sort of goes to show you that the charges and everything else were brought in a rush. No criminal history in the bond hearing??? No new information gathered? I mean, if these people had a little bit of money and family, they'd probably be able to get out. A rush to judgment about what charges to bring kind of plays into prosecutor's hands because they can charge anybody with anything until they get more information.

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Richard Payton 1 year, 10 months ago

KCMO 103.7 FM kept reporting this couple was from Lawrence. This proves talk radio doesn't always report the facts correctly.

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pace 1 year, 10 months ago

Thank god , they were stopped. Thanks to the woman who called and the police.

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thebigspoon 1 year, 10 months ago

How sad. There are plenty of people out there who try but can't have children and then there are idiots like this who don't deserve the ones they have...

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

I think the Gomezes should claim that it is part of their religion to bind their children while on road trips, and that the police are interfering with their religious liberty.

I think binding children could be easily justified by statements in the bible and koran.

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Gotland 1 year, 10 months ago

We need “genetic hygiene” in this country.

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Kat Christian 1 year, 10 months ago

To prevent these sort of horrors to children I feelt here should be a manditory parenting class in high school and first year of college. People go off have sex - have children they can't take care of, much less know how to take care of. We need to educate our young people of the responsibilities of raising another human being. It won't complete iradicate the negligence of adult caring for children, but it could minimize it. We've dumbed down our schools whereas our children are less prepared to enter into society as responsible adults. The family unit is breaking down because of it - therefore no roll models. The court's actions only put a band-aid of this problem and its never going to be resolved unless we educate. God help those children, becuase it doesn't look like the law has helped much, if that mother already endangered her boys by leaving them alone. What women with a sane and intelligent mind would do that? The key words here are sane and intelligent which obvisously this mother is neither. Hope they keep them locked in for a couple years and away from those children then maybe they may have a chance in life.

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phelliott 1 year, 10 months ago

Former neighbors in Illinois said they never saw any children at the house. The Mother has a history of child neglect and the Man has a long arrest record.

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Irenaku 1 year, 10 months ago

O.K. I have a question that has been on my mind for some time now, and if anyone can (seriously) provide insight, that would be great: These people obviously do not care about their children's basic physical needs (food, water, shelter), let alone their emotional and mental needs (nurturing, love, support, stability, etc.). There are other people I have seen who have children, and while they have not necessarily endangered them as these two people have, they exhibit resentment for their children, for having to care for them, they treat them like pets, have no nurturing interaction, are not involved in their education, care nothing for their feelings, interests, well-being, etc. YET...these people, as well as the Illinois couple continue to have children...multiple children. WHY??? I seriously do not understand it. How difficult is it to just get your tubes tied or get a vasectomy? Why do they continue this? They could be free from all this "stress" of kids if they would STOP HAVING THEM. Any thoughts????

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CWGOKU 1 year, 10 months ago

Not another word out of you children?! Don't make me come back there! Keep it up and I'll pull over into Walmart...

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HotToddy69 1 year, 10 months ago

Northlake, Ill? Are they sure that's where they're from. It sounds like these people are from Topeka, KS.

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Matthew Herbert 1 year, 10 months ago

Allow me to recommend Forced sterilization. Perhaps instead of (or in addition to) sex offender registries we need creep-o fanatic registration. I have a right to know which of my neighbors have their kids tied up in the basement if for no other reason than to get a heads up on the closeout 'end of days' garage sale. Maybe if they hadn't sold all their stuff they wouldn't have had to stop at Wal-Mart.

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budtugly 1 year, 10 months ago

Liberty275 do you really think its cruel punishment for the cops to cuff a persons hands behind there back. Hell some of these loons still manage to get away. Look at what is going on with the cops out there. What would it be like without them. You had better be packin!

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Liberty275 1 year, 10 months ago

"“cruel or inhumane corporal punishment” on two of their young children found Wednesday blindfolded with their hands bound behind them in the parking lot of Walmart in west Lawrence."

Was it cruel or inhumane corporal punishment when the police cuffed the defendant's hands behind their backs? I'm not defending the loony parents, but the authorities probably should find a better premise for the charges than the same action they take every time they haul someone off to the stripey hole. "Equal protection" has the word "equal" in it for a reason.

As for the parent's, which came first? The god-belief or the psychosis?

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UNIKU 1 year, 10 months ago

".. she encountered Adolfo and Deborah Gomez last week as they were selling all of their belongings in preparation for the end of the world. " Apparently duct tape, blindfolds and rope aren't considered belongings... P O S

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Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 10 months ago

I feel sorry for the kids and the parents. So often these kinds of things involve religion, at least the way in which the parents interpret it.

Instead of being in prison, local ministers need to help these people. They could all have a decent life ahead of them if they get help now, whatever their form of religion may be.

This isn't the first time this has happened. In California last year, thousands of people gave up all their savings to a church in Oakland, which created billboards all over the state. And the end result...the day passed without being the end of the world, and all these people lost their savings and in many cases houses. And it 's happened many times elsewhere in the country as well.

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2bluforu 1 year, 10 months ago

The father was standing outside the truck and the child was sitting on the cement parking lot when observed. The father was pacing back and forth and knew exactly what was going on.

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Steve Swaggerty 1 year, 10 months ago

What if it was the older children that did this?

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bevy 1 year, 10 months ago

Nice to see somebody cared enough to do something! One thing the article doesn't mention - are they even sure those kids belong to those people?

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consumer1 1 year, 10 months ago

This intervention by the citizen and LPD may have saved the lives of these two younger children. GREAT JOB citizen and LPD...

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