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'He's going to live forever': Family of Adrian Jones celebrates law named in his honor

Adrian's Law
Posted at 5:05 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 19:53:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The family of Adrian Jones stood over Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly's shoulder as she signed Adrian's Law for the second time Wednesday.

While Kelly made Adrian's Law official in May, Wednesday gave an opportunity for the family to celebrate a positive outcome from a tragic death.

Judy Conway, Adrian's grandmother who fought for her grandson to be remembered, got the results she's been waiting six years for.

"His death's not in vain now," Conway said. "I think he is smiling down right now and he's really happy about all the efforts that everyone put into this."

Adrian was tortured and killed in 2015. His remains were found in a livestock pen in Wyandotte County where his dad and stepmom lived. The couple is in prison for Adrian's murder.

Kansas Representative Louis Ruiz introduced Adrian's Law in 2017 following an I-Team investigation.

"We've worked together on this for a lot of years, since 2017," Ruiz said. "I appreciate the support of you and your station."

The I-Team first exposed social workers, doctors and even extended family failed to protect Adrian. Adrian's file with the Kansas Department For Children and Families, obtained by the I-Team, documents years of abuse.

"Very preventable," Ruiz said. "When you stop and think about that, and you apply that to your family, your grandchildren, it breaks your heart and I get emotional."

Surveillance video from inside Adrian's home revealed the boy was often left unclothed and confined to a shower.

Footage also shows another relative living in the home at the time of Adrian's abuse. Adrian is seen getting a bowl of water and then hiding from the relative who walks into the kitchen. At that time, Kansas state law didn't allow for charges.

Under Adrian's Law, adults now must report child abuse or face criminal charges.

A committee to oversee social services is also part of the bill.

Additionally, authorities must make contact with a child suspected of abuse as opposed to knocking and leaving when no one answers or taking the guardian's word for it that the child's not home.

Mark Dupree, district attorney for Wyandotte County, spoke at Wednesday's ceremony.

"No more hiding our babies, our abused children," Dupree said.

Det. Stuart Littlefield with the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department was also at the signing.

Littlefield took over Adrian's case after Det. Brad Lancaster, who was working the case, was killed in the line of duty.

Littlefield became emotional and says Adrian's case remains the most difficult of his 28-year career.

"I think the worst part was he could've been saved so many times if somebody would've come forward or if they would've had an encounter with law enforcement," Littlefield said.

Littlefield said, had KCKPD been notified, a police officer would've gone to Adrian's home and removed him.

Each year, Adrian's Law stalled in the House, until it passed in 2021.

The celebratory signing for Adrian's Law took place inside Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kansas, just a few miles from where Adrian died.

It's a long-awaited moment for Conway who now said she has some closure, knowing her grandson's legacy will help save other children from child abuse.

"I'm just really excited that he's going to live forever," Conway said.

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