Governor signs bill honoring memory of abused Kansas boy fed to hogs by father

Law requires state, law enforcement to visually check welfare of alleged victims

By: - May 21, 2021 12:38 pm
Sen. David Haley, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kansas, lauded legislation honoring Adrian Jones, a severely abused 7-year-old boy killed in 2015 and his body fed to hogs. Allegations of abuse had come to attention of officials in Kansas and Missouri. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Sen. David Haley, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kansas, lauded legislation honoring Adrian Jones, a severely abused 7-year-old boy killed in 2015 and his body fed to hogs. Allegations of abuse had come to attention of officials in Kansas and Missouri. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill Friday unanimously passed by the Kansas Legislature that recognized the torture and murder of the late Adrian Jones by mandating that investigations of child abuse and neglect include a visual observation of alleged victims.

The measure featured Adrian’s Law in remembrance of Jones, who was 7 when starved to death by his father and stepmother near Kansas City, Kansas, after years of physical and emotional torture that had been reported to officials in Missouri and Kansas. The child died in fall 2015 and his father fed the boy’s body to newly purchased pigs. His remains were found later that year.

“It was horrible, horrible,” said Sen. David Haley, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kansas. “Law enforcement was called out to look at the welfare of a child and did not physically see the child. They were given assurances from what turned out to be the parent-guardian abusers that the child was all right.”

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly said Friday that she signed a bill unanimously passed by the Legislature to require greater scrutiny by state and law enforcement officials of alleged child abuse. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly said Friday that she signed a bill unanimously passed by the GOP-led Legislature to require greater scrutiny by state and law enforcement officials of alleged child abuse. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Woven into House Bill 2158, Adrian’s Law mandates children alleged to be victims of abuse or neglect to be visually observed by an employee of the Kansas Department for Children and Families or a representative of the law enforcement agency investigating the report. To help prevent children from falling through the cracks, both DCF and law enforcement must interact with the child during joint investigations.

Much of Adrian’s abuse was recorded by dozens of surveillance cameras positioned at the home where the child died. Evidence indicated he was forced to stand in stagnant water up to his neck, sleep outdoors in freezing weather, be strapped to an inversion table with a blindfold, hit with a stun gun for up to 20 seconds at a time and taunted with a plate of food while a bar of soap was stuffed in his mouth. His final days were spent incarcerated in a shower stall.

Two years before his death, Adrian told a representative of the Missouri Department of Social Services that he was being beaten by his father. The family attempted to evade scrutiny by moving to Kansas where reports of abuse or neglect also reached DCF.

His father, Michael Jones, 50, and stepmother, Heather Jones, 35, were sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison on convictions of first-degree murder.

The contents of House Bill 2158 also included establishment of the Legislature’s joint committee on child welfare system oversight, granted confidentiality of state child death review board documents and exempted the caregiver of a child in out-of-home foster care from the state’s 20-hour-per-week work requirement.

Michael Jones, 50, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison for the 2015 murder of 7-year-old Adrian Jones, who was mentally and physically abused before starving to death and fed to livestock in Wyandotte County. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)
Michael Jones, 50, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison for the 2015 murder of 7-year-old Adrian Jones, who was mentally and physically abused before starving to death and fed to livestock in Wyandotte County. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

In addition, the governor signed House Bill 2026 to create a drug abuse treatment program for people on diversion.

“This bill is a significant step towards criminal justice reform in Kansas,” Kelly said. “Through this new drug abuse treatment program, our judicial system can redirect individuals struggling with addiction to the services they need to get healthy and successfully reenter society.”

Also signed was House Bill 2079, which placed under direction of the attorney general a program for allocating settlement money from drug-manufacturer lawsuits to local units of government for mitigating influence of substance abuse addiction. The same bill required more businesses to post signs about human trafficking and to transfer registration of charitable organizations to the attorney general from the secretary of state.

The other bill signed by Kelly was House Bill 2224 to expand the definition of infectious disease in relation to crimes in which bodily fluids were transmitted from one person to another.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.

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