Adrian Jones' mother and stepfather were each sentenced to life in prison for his murder

By Christine Pelisek
September 04, 2017 04:40 PM
Adrian Jones - News
Credit: GoFundMe

Family members of Adrian Jones, the seven-year-old boy whose father and stepmother killed him and fed his remains to pigs, have filed a lawsuit against social workers they say should have removed him from a dangerous situation, according to multiple reports.

The lawsuit, filed against social workers from the Missouri Department of Social Services and the Kansas Department for Children and Families, alleges child welfare workers knew Adrian was being physically abused but didn’t remove him from his home and instead just documented the abuse, the Kansas City Star reports.

The lawsuit seeks $25 million in punitive damages, the Associated Press reports.

Adrian’s remains were found in the family’s pigpen in Kansas City, Kansas, in November 2015. Adrian’s father, Michael A. Jones, pleaded guilty in March to first-degree murder. He was sentenced to life in prison in May. The boy’s stepmother Heather Jones pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree murder and two counts of child abuse and was sentenced in November to life in prison, though she will be eligible for parole after 25 years, Fox4 reports.

Michael A. Jones - News
Michael Jones
| Credit: Wyandotte County Detention Center/AP
Heather Jones - News
Heather Jones
| Credit: Wyandotte County Detention Center/AP

The agencies and workers allegedly “meticulously investigated and carefully documented every violent kick, punch, slap and injury inflicted upon A.J. (Adrian) by his sadistic father and stepmother,” the lawsuit states. The agencies allegedly “generated stacks of records and reports chronicling the ceaseless, stomach-churning abuse.”

But, according to the lawsuit, intervention was limited and consisted of having Jones and the boy’s stepmother “sign a piece of paper agreeing to stop torturing the child – the legal equivalent of a ‘pinky swear,'” the suit alleges. “As it turned out, that signed paper might as well have been A.J.’s death warrant.”

The Missouri Department of Social Services and Kansas Department for Children and Families could not be reached for comment. However, in May, the Kansas agency issued a statement regarding the death of Adrian.

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“DCF had worked closely with the Missouri Department of Social Services in providing multiple services to the Jones family,” wrote DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore. “This family moved frequently between Kansas and Missouri, which greatly disrupted continuity of services and evaluation. Nevertheless, DCF and Missouri officials remained in regular contact with each other regarding Adrian and shared information and location, when known. In fact, even during periods when the family was not residing in Kansas, DCF continued to reach out to the family regarding and inquiring about the welfare of Adrian. DCF thoroughly investigated each reported incident of alleged abuse and/or neglect regarding Adrian as well as requests for information and assistance from the family while they were residing in the state.”

Boy Reported Abuse to Hotline Himself

The Kansas City Star reports that numerous people made repeated hotline calls saying he was being neglected and beaten at home by his father and stepmother.

The paper also obtained records from Missouri that showed Adrian had also told a caseworker in July 2013 that he was being physically abused at home.

Police were first called to the rental home in the 5200 block of North 99th Street the day before Thanksgiving 2015 for a domestic disturbance call, according to the Kansas City Star. Once there, police discovered that Adrian had been missing for several months and was possibly a murder victim.

Police came back the following day and found human remains in the barn, which were later identified as Adrian’s, the Star reports.

‘Imagine the Screams of a 7-Year-Old Boy’

Adrian’s grandmother, Judy Conway, told PEOPLE that the Joneses repeatedly abused Adrian, making him stand outside in a pool of stagnant water overnight and making him hold tiki torches over his head for long periods of time.

“There were 32 surveillance cameras in the house, which included cameras in the backyard, to watch him all night long,” she said. “One of their forms of abuse was him standing in one position for long periods of time with his hands above his head. He wasn’t allowed to take his hands down.”

The Joneses, she alleged, also strapped her grandson to an inversion table. “He had been strapped to the table so much that his little hands and his ankles were permanently swollen,” she said. “They are both really evil and there is nothing else that can describe it.”

Conway alleged she saw photos of the boy starved and with cuts, bruises and scrapes all over his body.

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During Jones’ sentencing, Detective Stuart Littlefield also described the abuse Adrian suffered, which included being regularly shocked with a stun gun for 20 seconds.

“Imagine the screams of a 7-year-old boy,” the detective said, according to the Kansas City Star. “Twenty seconds is a very long time when you’re in agony.”

“I pray you have a long, tortured life in prison,” Adrian’s mother, Dainna Pearce, told Jones during the sentencing, according to the Associated Press. “I don’t know if I can forgive you, but I know you should suffer for what you did.”