De Soto woman charged with child endangerment
A 26-year-old De Soto woman is in jail, charged with child abuse and aggravated child endangerment involving her 6-year-old son.
Twenty-six year-old Rachel Perez is in jail facing charges of child abuse and aggravated child endangerment after authorities found her malnourished son in the attic of her home.
About 5 p.m. Tuesday, Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies went to the home of Rachel Perez, who lives in the 8200 block of Center Drive in De Soto. The Sheriff’s Office said deputies were responding to the request of Perez’s stepmother, Christina Foster, to check on Perez’s 6-year-old son.
Deputies checked the home but did not see the boy, and Perez told officers the boy was not there. At that time, Perez was arrested on an outstanding warrant for driving with a suspended license, issued by the city of Olathe.
About 11 p.m., deputies returned to the home, again at the request of Foster, and found the boy, whom they described as very fragile and malnourished, in the attic of the home.
The boy was transported by ambulance to a hospital and is presently in protective custody while being treated at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
The boy, whom relatives described as always having been on the small side, has Down syndrome and weighed only 20 pounds when he was taken to the Children's Mercy Hospital for emergency treatment. Deputies found the boy covered in feces.
Sarah Swain, the lawyer for the boy's grandparents, reports the family is hopeful the boy will be released from the hospital as early as this week.
Where the boy will go once he is released is still unsure. The boy's grandparents, Rachel Perez's father and step-mother, are in the process of petitioning the state for custody of Perez's three children. Perez's daughters, ages 8 and 5, were with the grandparents until Aug. 19, when they were taken into state custody. The grandparents met Monday morning, Aug. 23, with SRS to begin custody hearings, according to Swain.
Swain also stated the girls are in good health.
At this time it is unknown how long the boy had been confined to the attic. A friend of Perez's, who declined to give her name, stated she hadn't seen the boy in several weeks.
"Every time I would see Rachel with the girls and ask about [the boy] she just said he was with other relatives or friends, I had no idea," said the friend.
The grandparents state they had been concerned about the boy for some time and had placed "several" calls to SRS and the Johnson County Sheriff's Department asking that something be done.
"The grandparents are just very upset at this time that it took this long for law enforcement to do something and that the situation had to become this severe," said Swain.
Perez is being detained at the New Century Adult Detention Center. Officials said their investigation is continuing.
She was charged with child abuse, aggravated child endangerment and driving with a suspended license at an Aug. 19 court appearance in Johnson County District Court.
Perez’s next court appearance will be Thursday, Aug. 26.