KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An emaciated boy whose remains were found among his family's pigs told Missouri authorities two years before his death that his dad and stepmother were abusing him, state records show.
Adrian Jones was 5 in July 2013 when he told a Missouri Children's Division worker and a police officer that his father would kick him so hard on the back of his head that a "little bone come out," according to agency records released this week to media outlets in response to an open records request. The boy's remains were found in November 2015 on the family's Kansas City, Kansas, rental property after officers responding to a report of domestic abuse learned the then-7-year-old boy was missing.
The boy's father, Michael Jones, a 46-year-old bail bondsman, was sentenced Monday to life in prison for killing Adrian. Adrian's stepmother, 31-year-old Heather Jones, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty last year. Neither is eligible for parole for at least 25 years.
Prosecutors have said Adrian was essentially starved to death. When the charges were filed, former Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerry Gorman said it was one the worst cases seen by Kansas City, Kansas, police detectives. He declined to discuss reports that the child's remains were fed to pigs, but said they were found near swine on the family's property.
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An attorney and spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Social Services didn't immediately return phone and email messages left by The Associated Press on Thursday seeking comment about the state records that show Adrian had reported being abused.
The Kansas City Star reports that the Missouri Children's Division worker and police officer spoke with Adrian in mid-2013 after an anonymous tipster called a hotline to report abuse at his home. Adrian said that "daddy kicks me," the records show. The boy added that his dad "keeps hitting me in the head and punches me in the stomach and mom keeps pulling on my ears and it really hurts."
The Joneses "always lock me in my room. I have to sleep without a pillow and blanket," the records quote Adrian as saying. He added that his stepmother "keeps being mean to me."
According to the Kansas City Star, the Missouri Children's Division found "by a preponderance of the evidence" that Adrian had been neglected in July of 2013. But investigators and medical staff reportedly didn't see signs of physical abuse on the child, and he wasn't removed from the home.
Rather, Missouri's child welfare system attempted to provide intense in-home services to the family. Within weeks, the paper reports, the family stopped cooperating with authorities and told the Missouri system their primary residence was now in Kansas.
On Aug. 9, 2013, a Missouri case worker called Kansas' child welfare system, according to the Kansas City Star, reporting that the family had recently received services in Missouri but stopped cooperating and moved out of state.
"I made KS aware that Adrian had disclosed physical abuse by his stepmother — Heather Jones — and his father — Michael Jones — during a (forensic) interview held in Missouri," the worker wrote in the report, according to the Star. "I also reported that the children are home schooled and not seen by any outside members of the family on a regular basis, which heightened our concerns for the safety of the children."
It's not known whether Kansas followed up on that report, according to the paper.
The Kansas Department for Children and Families' chief, Phyllis Gilmore, said last week that her agency last had contact with the family in early 2012. The department's records involving Adrian remain under court-ordered seal.
Gilmore said that the family's frequently alternating residency between Kansas and Missouri "greatly disrupted continuity of services and evaluation," but she insisted Kansas child-welfare officials often shared information about Adrian "when known" with their Missouri counterparts.
Gilmore said her agency "thoroughly investigated" each reported incident of alleged abuse or neglect involving Adrian, though she did not divulge the number of cases or their context.
Messages seeking comment from that agency also were left Thursday by the AP.
Lori Ross, a Missouri child advicate, told the Star Adrian should have been removed from the home by Missouri authorities after he reported the abuse in 2013.
"I don't understand why, after what he initially said, there wasn't an immediate request to pick him up," Ross, founder, president and CEO of FosterAdopt Connect, told the paper. "He was very detailed, saying in his 5-year-old voice he was being dramatically abused."
Judy Conway, Adrian's maternal grandmother, credited Missouri authorities Thursday for releasing the records but found them damning. "I just knew somehow that the system has failed Adrian," she added.
"He even said it at times in his own words that he was being abused, and I don't even know at this point how much they helped him and why the kids weren't taken away," Conway said. "I don't care what child it is, if he says someone is hurting me I think someone should listen. At this time, I don't know. I'm just so totally confused."
Conway's daughter, Dainna Pearce, lost custody of Adrian and two of his siblings years ago. Judy Conway has said she's seen videos and digital photos from the Jones' home that showed the abuse Adrian suffered in his life's waning months, much of it chronicled by more than 30 security cameras set up throughout the home.
Conway has said the Joneses kept Adrian naked in a shower stall and modified it so he couldn't get out. She said they sometimes strapped her grandson to an inversion table and that they made him stand in a swimming pool overnight, up to his neck in stagnant water. Conway said Heather Jones sometimes beat Adrian with the end of a broom handle and kept alarms on the family's food so that he couldn't take any when he was hungry.
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