Documents: tortured KCK boy told social workers & deputies dad was beating him

Boy's parents asked state to take custody of him
Posted at 7:55 PM, May 10, 2017

Adrian Jones’s file from the Missouri Department of Social Services is 458 pages.

The documents show the 7-year-old, who was killed by his dad and stepmom in 2015, told a social worker two years before his death he was being abused. Adrian's killers, Michael and Heather Jones, also told the state they didn't want their son.

Still, Adrian remained in their care.

On Wednesday, 41 Action News Investigators obtained Adrian's file from MDSS Children’s Division, which shows the little boy had several visits with the department.

Adrian died at his Kansas City, Kansas home after being tortured for months by Michael and Heather Jones, his father and stepmother. 

But prior to moving to Kansas, the Joneses lived in Plattsburg, Missouri.

In July 2013, a social worker visited the home with help from the Clinton County Sheriff’s Department after a hotline call came in stating, "The mom beats the living daylights out of the kids for no reason."

During that meeting, the worker spoke with Michael and Heather about the allegations and visited with the kids. However, the employee’s report says she didn’t see Adrian. Michael and Heather said he was with his uncle.

Upon leaving the home, the social worker was directed by the sheriff’s department to never go there without law enforcement. The record states, “Officer Jackson motioned me over and told me that they believe this guy [Michael] is bad news. Officer Jackson told me to never go out there without two officers. He [Michael] has an arsenal of guns and they are outnumbered. He stated there is something not quite right.”

The worker returned to the home nine days later to visit with Adrian.

When she arrived, she was greeted at the door by another family member who was babysitting Adrian. Michael and Heather were not at the house.

According to the documents, the social services employee sat down with Adrian who immediately told her his dad would beat him.

“Sometimes he kicks me on the back of my head and little bone come out,” Adrian told the worker. “My daddy keeps hitting me in the head and punches me in the stomach and my mom keeps pulling on my ears and it really hurts.”

The state documented that Adrian also told them Heather would throw him on the floor.

“She keeps being mean to me,” Adrian said to the employee.

During that interview, Adrian also said his parents would lock him in his room at night so he couldn’t go into the kitchen and get food. According to the report, Adrian stated he was even locked inside a closet at times.

“Mommy and daddy can’t feed me,” Adrian said. “I have to sleep without a pillow and blanket.”

The record shows Adrian’s parents arrived home in the middle of the interview. At that time, the worker reported that Adrian changed his story.

When the state employee questioned Michael and Heather about Adrian's statements, the couple denied any physical abuse, but, admitted to locking Adrian in his bedroom, calling him “a problem child.” The Joneses said Adrian had mental health issues. Heather said the little boy threatened to kill her and harm his sisters.  Heather also said Adrian was hospitalized twice and that she was ordered by a physician to lock him in his room.

The social worker suggested the family use other means to protect Adrian and his siblings. She also ordered a physical exam for Adrian, to include x-rays.

The exams were completed the following day. The doctor didn’t find any signs of physical abuse. However, the record shows no x-rays were done.

According to the employee's notes, the agency could not ensure Adrian's safety if he was left in the family’s home.

There were concerns that Adrian would be targeted because he was Heather’s stepchild. The documents also show Heather previously lost custody of one of her biological children due to abuse allegations.

Adrian and his siblings were also homeschooled, which, according to the agency, would increase the risk of abuse going undetected.

The same day Adrian was examined, the social worker contacted the juvenile office to ask if they could take over protective custody of Adrian.

The social worker documented that the juvenile office responded within minutes. The record shows the juvenile office thought Adrian should stay at home, “due to the child’s mental health concerns and the family being honest about locking him in his room as a way to address this, the juvenile officer would prefer for CD (Children’s Division) to develop a safety plan with the family and attempt IIS (Intensive In-home Services).”

A safety assessment marked Adrian as “unsafe” in 4 out of 11 categories, which included being in danger “because parent/caregiver’s behavior is violent or out of control.”

The investigation found a “preponderance of evidence” that Adrian was the victim of neglect.

While Michael and Heather agreed to accept services from Missouri’s child welfare system, within a few weeks, the couple began skipping appointments and was no longer cooperating.

The record shows the agency made multiple attempts to contact the family. When they finally reached the couple, Michael and Heather told them they were no longer living in Missouri and had moved to Kansas.

The investigation on the Missouri side was closed and Kansas was contacted.

“This worker reported that there are continued concerns for Adrian Jones and the lack of mental health services for his needs and possible physical abuse,” one document states.  “I made KS aware that Adrian had disclosed physical abuse by his stepmother-Heather Jones and father-Michael Jones during a CAC interview held in Missouri. I also reported that the children are homeschooled and not seen by any outside members of the family on a regular basis which heightened our concerns for safety of the children.”

It’s not known if Kansas Department of Children and Families followed up on those concerns. The agency will not release Adrian’s file until a Jackson County judge unseals it.

However, last week, Kansas DCF released a statement saying its last contact with the Joneses was in 2012.

Missouri child services records show they continued to get calls even after the family moved out of state. Adrian’s case worker documented that she got ahold of Michael in February of 2014 after a hotline call came in saying the Joneses were still locking Adrian in his room.

According to the documents Michael admitted to the allegations and stated he was at his “witts (sic) end” and does not know what to do. Michael told the social worker he thought Adrian would be better off in the state’s custody.

The social worker wrote that she “discussed with Mike what that might look like if the juvenile office and courts got involved.”

After that conversation Adrian continued to stay in the custody of Michael and Heather.

The following month, MDSS made contact with the family. While it’s not clear where the Joneses were living at the time, a social worker documented she visited the home.

According to the record, Adrian showed the worker markings on his wrists. Adrian said the marks were from his dad taping his arms and legs for stealing and lying.

The worker documented, “Mike and Heather are done keeping him and staying with them is not an option.”

“[I] explained to Mike that if they remove the child they will be faced with abandonment charges. Heather said they couldn’t be charged due to their line of work.”

Adrian remained in the home.

Then a couple weeks later, the social worker reported she received an email from a psychiatric hospital where Adrian was brought to.

Staff at the hospital reported they were concerned because Adrian had been there a few days and his parents never called to check on him.  

“Heather stated, at that point, due to Adrian’s behaviors, they were willing to take abandonment charges.”

The social worker said staff at the hospital reported to her that “the parents said inappropriate things around the child, such as calling him a pedophile.”

The hospital staff also said they did not notice any behaviors from Adrian and that he was an easy kid to work with. The staff alluded to the idea that Michael and Heather were the reason Adrian would act out.

“The parents feel that they do not have a role in Adrian’s behaviors. The family was reluctant on taking parenting classes and doing family therapy.”

That same day, Michael told the social worker Adrian could come home but that he was upset because his son was making him look bad.

According to the record, Michael said he picked up Adrian from a different facility on a prior occasion and that Adrian, “Threw a fit on the unit and that people were looking at him like he was the victim.”

The social worker said Michael continued to tell her that the therapist asked Adrian if he was ready to go home but that Adrian said only if things change. Michael expressed a 5-year-old should not have control.

The social worker documented that Michael said “He is not going to be told what to do by a 5-year-old.”

Michael continued to tell the social worker, according to documents, that people “get sucked into Adrian’s plan.”

Adrian’s father claimed he and Heather were the victims -- not Adrian.

This is where the file ends.

The 41 Action News investigators contacted the Missouri Department of Social Services to ask questions about policies and procedures and to find out why Adrian was left in the home. The department has not responded.