NewsKansas City Public Safety


Neighbors claim they tried to warn authorities of KCMO home where child died

Neighbors United For Action Grieve Child's death in suspected drug house on 65th and paseo
Posted at 5:24 PM, Aug 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-18 18:57:16-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just a few feet away from an east Kansas City home where police found a young boy dead, there’s a sign letting people know that neighbors report suspicious activity.

Neighbors claim it's exactly what they did before Wednesday's tragic discovery.

"Just all sorts of people coming in day and night," said Greta Erhardt, a member of Neighbors United for Action.

About four months ago, Erhardt and her neighbors noticed strangers staying at the corner house on The Paseo and east 65th Street.

"The woman who used to, she had the voucher to stay there and she was not staying there," Erhardt said. "She actually got very ill and had to be hospitalized in the hospital about three months, so she let somebody else move in and they brought in what we believe to be a lot of drug users."

Recently, neighbors claim they started seeing two little boys running around the house and worried for them.

"We called Children's Division, they said there wasn't anything for an immediate need to go in," Erhardt said.

Then early Wednesday morning, KCPD received an anonymous call to check out the house for a possible dead child.

KCPD officers found two boys. A 3-year-old sleeping on the floor and a 2-year-old lifeless on a bed.

"We knew in our hearts, we hoped it didn't, but we knew this was going to happen," said Robert Hickmon, another neighbor. "We knew it. We said it from the jump that the kids didn't need to be there."

Police arrested and charged the boys' mother, 36-year-old Michaela Chism, after they say tests showed methamphetamine in the blood of both children.

"I think we leave everything up to just the police force, and they did what they could within their limits, but they couldn't save those kids fast enough," Erhardt said.

Charging documents note Chism told police she and her sons moved into the home two weeks ago.

Chism also said she would consume meth and fentanyl with others staying there.

She didn't know when exactly the child died.

"I'm very sorry for the family who lost that boy, and I hope that the other boy can get out of this drug life because the parents are not going to protect them," Erhardt said.

The Missouri Department of Social Services said it cannot comment on specific cases of child abuse and neglect.

Meanwhile, the Housing Authority told KSHB 41 it's following up with the tenant, who isn't the suspect, as well as with the landlord because of this child's death.

KSHB 41 has also submitted a records request with KCPD to see the number of times officers have been called to the home and why.

Chism appeared in court Thursday afternoon and asked for a public defender to represent her moving forward. She’s back in court Aug. 29.