TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas received reports that a boy who ultimately was murdered and fed to pigs was being physically abused several years before his death, according to documents released Tuesday that also show a social worker was in contact with his father and stepmother by phone more than a year after the state said it lost physical contact with the boy.
The Kansas Department for Children and Families released more than 2,000 pages of documents on Adrian Jones, whose father and stepmother are serving life prison sentences in his death. Authorities say Michael and Heather Jones abused, tortured and starved Adrian, whose remains were found in Kansas City, Kansas, in November 2015.
The family moved frequently, living in communities in both Kansas and Missouri and complicating efforts by social workers in both states to keep tabs on Adrian despite repeated interactions with his family.
Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said earlier this month that the Kansas agency’s last contact with the family was February 2012, but spokeswoman Theresa Freed clarified that statement Tuesday, saying it was the last physical contact with the boy. She said the department had physical contact with Heather Jones and other family members in December 2012, that Adrian was living with Michael Jones, who was then separated from her.
Gilmore said in a statement Tuesday that the records show that the father and stepmother “worked constantly to evade our intervention.”
“Even when the Jones family moved to Missouri and was no longer within our jurisdiction, our social workers continued to make efforts to communicate with Missouri official to ensure the family was provided with services and assessed,” she said.
According to the records, someone called the department in October 2013 to report that Adrian wasn’t being properly supervised. The person said Adrian had been “eating from the trash can” and had behavioral problems.
The location of the incident is listed only as Shawnee County, Kansas, and the name of the person who told the agency is blacked out of the report. The records show a department supervisor assigned the case to a social worker to investigate whether Adrian was “without parental control.”
A social worker then contacted Heather and Michael Jones by phone. Heather Jones told the social worker they had brought the boy from Missouri, where the family was living, to Kansas to go a hospital. The report noted that Adrian had been “hospitalized several times.” The department then sent a report to Missouri about the interaction.
Other contacts the Kansas agency had with the family included in December 2011, when Heather Jones faced an allegation of abusing another child. The agency found that allegation to be “unsubstantiated.” The other, unnamed child went to the hospital, and the agency’s reports on the incidents said a police officer found that Adrian had a black eye and bruises on his face.
The officer said he believed Adrian would be safe with his father. The records indicate that the social worker assigned to the case believed Heather Jones was responsible for Adrian’s injuries, but online court records don’t show any criminal case stemming from those allegations.
Michael Jones said at the time that he and Heather Jones had separated, and he signed a “safety plan” in which he agreed that she would not have contact with Adrian or the other children in their household, at least temporarily. The family was assigned a therapist.
The therapist told a state social worker in an April 26, 2012, email that the family was living in Oskaloosa, Kansas, and had pigs, adding that and one child was “thinking of naming the pigs after fruits.” Michael and Heather Jones remained separated; the therapist reported that Michael Jones said Heather Jones “had not been around the children.”
Michael Jones had told the social worker in December 2011 that he believed Heather Jones had been using drugs.
Affidavits and search warrants unsealed Monday revealed that Adrian died after escalating abuse ended with him being beaten for “stealing food” and locked naked in a shower stall for months. A closed-circuit surveillance camera recorded his deteriorating condition.