A Douglas County judge Thursday scheduled an Aug. 10 preliminary hearing for two suburban Chicago parents whose children were found bound and blindfolded earlier this month outside the Walmart in west Lawrence.
At that hearing District Judge Paula Martin will hear evidence and decide whether Adolfo Gomez Jr., 52, and Deborah Gomez, 43, both of Northlake, Ill., should face a trial in the case. Prosecutors have charged them with two counts each of child abuse alleging they inflicted “cruel and inhuman” corporal punishment on two of their children, ages 5 and 7. Police say the children were found bound by their hands and feet on June 13 near the family’s 1984 Chevrolet Suburban in the store parking lot. A customer saw one child and called police.
Lawrence police have said the family was traveling from Illinois to see a family member in Arizona before the vehicle broke down two days earlier.
The Gomezes each also face five counts of aggravated child endangerment for alleged treatment of the two young children and three older ones, ages 12, 13 and 15, whom police found in the vehicle but were not bound.
Adolfo Gomez faces an obstruction charge because he’s accused of resisting officers. Deborah Gomez was arrested inside the store.
Deborah Gomez’s attorney Angela Keck said last week her client was not aware the children were bound. Keck said Thursday she would have a mechanic examine the vehicle next week.
Prosecutor Amy McGowan, a chief assistant district attorney, said Wednesday that police had paid $370 to date to store the vehicle in a towing lot. Both parents remained in the Douglas County Jail Thursday in lieu of $50,000 bond.