Missouri couple accused of abandoning boy, 12, with palsy

Associated Press
The Rolla Daily News

BLUE SPRINGS — A suburban Kansas City couple left their 12-year-old boy with cerebral palsy behind for weeks after they moved, returning only periodically to bring him food, according to court records.

Janine Allen, 30, and Brendon Luke, 29, were each being held on $250,000 bond on charges of felony abuse or neglect of a child. 

Police learned the boy was left by himself in a Blue Springs home while they monitored him with an in-home video system from their new home a couple of miles away, according to court records. 

The mother allegedly told witnesses she did not want him to damage the walls of the families' new home. In a home-surveillance video later obtained by police, the boy says, "I want out. I don't like this, mommy."

A Children's Division worker involved with the family since October the child was "increasingly violent" toward the family and believed he needed residential placement, but his mother hadn't completed the required paperwork, according to court documents. The worker was unaware the child had been abandoned, The Kansas City Star reports.

Allen's attorney P.J. O'Connor told McClatchy News there is more to the case than what is in the arrest affidavit.

"I've just entered my appearance on the case and there is a lot more to the story than what's been presented in the probable cause statement," O'Connor said in an email. "Until I've viewed all the evidence I don't want to comment any further."

Luke does not have an attorney listed in court records.

In early June, concerned residents told Blue Springs police the wheelchair-bound child had been left in the home for weeks, prompting the investigation.

When a police officer went to the home, Allen told him through a doorbell camera that the boy was OK and she could see him on camera, according to court records. Later, Allen explained to investigators that she and her husband monitored the boy with a two-way radio and camera that provides alerts of movements and noises inside the house, police said.

She told the officers her son knew how to call 911 and her phone number in an emergency. 

A Children's Mercy clinic told investigators the boy is "medically complex" and shouldn't be left unsupervised, police said. In September, the boy was at the clinic for a "suspicious" broken arm following an altercation with his mother, according to court documents. A school resource officer said the boy needs help using the bathroom and eating and also with mobility.

Inside the home, investigators reported finding feces and it smelled of urine. There was a telephone with no dial tone.

The family's new home was "extremely large in size" with a basement large enough for the boy and other children to have their own rooms, police said. 

According to police, video shows the child attempting for more than 20 minutes to get out of his locked room with a small piece of wire. Another video shows Luke "throwing food on the floor" in the boy's room before leaving the house within six minutes, police say.

On June 11, Allen told investigators the boy was left in the home since Mother's Day, which was May 10, according to court documents. She said leaving her son in the house was the best option to protect her family from violence, police say.

Jackson County Family Court obtained emergency custody of the boy. Luke took him to a residential facility in southern Missouri a day later, despite the custody order, police say.