A couple, arrested Wednesday after Lawrence, KS, police found two bound children in a Walmart parking lot, were in court Thursday on charges of child abuse and endangerment.
It's a bizarre crime, and the prosecutor still has no idea why the couple would allegedly tie up their own children in a busy Walmart parking lot.
Adolfo Gomez, 52, and a few minutes later his wife, Deborah Gomez, 43, made their first court appearance through a video connection from the Douglas County Jail. The couple was charged with two counts each of child abuse and five counts of child endangerment.
"I don't recall a similar set of circumstances where you have the aspect of the parking lot and people from out of town. The allegations are that they were there a couple of days so that makes it both unusual and usual. I'll just let the reported facts speak for themselves," Assistant District Attorney Jim McCabria said.
The couple was arrested Wednesday morning after a customer noticed a child with his hands bound behind his back in the Walmart parking lot in Lawrence. The child was outside of the family's broken down Suburban.
When officers arrived, they discovered the 5-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl were actually tied up and blindfolded.
Police said their father, Adolfo Gomez, was combative with officers and had to be tased, leading to his obstruction charge.
The DA said the good Samaritan who called 911 deserves a lot of credit.
"The fact that a member of the public brought it to the attention of police is something we appreciate. It reminds people to always be vigilant. I think, in this modern age, you can go about your business not paying attention to what's going on around you, but it's critical (that you do)," McCabria said.
Investigators said the family is from North Lake, IL, and were headed to Arizona, to Deborah Gomez's sister's home, when their SUV broke down. Police suspect they had been camped out in the parking lot since Monday.
KCTV5's sister station in Illinois talked to neighbors who said the family was renting a home and moved out last week, telling everyone they were leaving to find work. The neighbors are shocked to learn their children were allegedly being treated in such an inhuman way.
"It's crazy, something like this blows your mind," neighbor Joe Rossi said.
"To think they were blindfolded and tied. If they couldn't take care of the kids, there are 100 places where they could have dropped them off," neighbor Daniel Britton said.
There were three other children found in the Suburban. It took police an hour to convince them to unlock the SUV and come out.
Right now, all five children are safe in state custody.
The Gomez couple is behind bars, held on $50,000 bond each. Their next court date is Thursday, June 21.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 6:23 PM EDT2013-05-18 22:23:41 GMT
The National Weather Service says there is a slight risk for severe weather on Sunday, and isolated tornadoes and supercell storms are possible.The threat for severe weather will continue into Monday.StormsMore >
The National Weather Service said there is a moderate risk for severe weather on Sunday, and isolated tornadoes and supercell storms are possible.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 4:52 PM EDT2013-05-17 20:52:00 GMT
An 11-year-old girl is recovering after a distracted driver hit her and then fled.She is recovering at Children's Mercy Hospital with a broken arm, ruptured ear drum and fractured pelvis. Her family isMore >
An 11-year-old girl is recovering after a distracted driver hit her and then fled.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 6:47 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:47:09 GMT
Imagine suffering a medical emergency in a foreign country, half a world away. It happened to a man from Overland Park, KS, in Japan. Now, his family is trying to come up with a way to get him home whereMore >
An Overland Park family is trying to raise enough money to get their son back to the U.S. from Japan after he suffered a massive stroke in the other country.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:20:10 GMT
The Rachael Ray show flew to New York a puppy that survived a month inside a locked car at Kansas City's tow lot.Ray and guest co-host Regis Philbin fawned over Kia, who was accompanied by Tori Fugate,More >
Television hosts Rachael Ray and Regis Philbin fawned this week over a puppy rescued earlier this month after living nearly a month inside a locked vehicle at Kansas City's municipal impound lot.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 3:19 PM EDT2013-05-18 19:19:04 GMT
A Kansas City woman behind a new youth literacy program celebrated a milestone Friday night and none too soon. Jean Rundle is suffering from a heart condition and in quickly declining health. She neverMore >
A Kansas City woman behind a new youth literacy program celebrated a milestone Friday night and none too soon.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 7:11 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:11:46 GMT
Students from a suburban Kansas City school district will be nearly 600 pounds lighter when they return Friday from the spring semester at a weight-loss boarding school in South Carolina. That amountMore >
Students from the Independence School District were 600 pounds lighter when they returned Friday from the spring semester at a weight-loss boarding school in South Carolina.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 12:47 AM EDT2013-05-18 04:47:49 GMT
For the first time, the University of Kansas awarded two Wounded Warrior Scholarships. The money, of $10,000/year for up to four years, goes to students who are injured veterans or caretakers of injuredMore >
A young marine from Kansas City, KS, was one of two recipients of the University of Kansas' new Wounded Warrior Scholarship.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 2:21 PM EDT2013-05-17 18:21:35 GMT
A woman is in custody after she allegedly struck her father in the head with a pistol, Overland Park police said Friday.The woman, who is in her middle 20s, was taken into custody about 11 a.m. This wasMore >
A woman is in custody after she allegedly struck her father in the head with a pistol, Overland Park police said Friday.More >