The family of a little boy who was horrifically abused by his father and stepmother for years before he was starved to death has sued child protective agencies in two states for failing to properly respond to evidence of abuse.
Adrian Jones was 7 when he died while confined to a shower stall in his Kansas City in 2015, before his father, Michael Jones, fed his remains to pigs in order to conceal the death.
Michael Jones and his wife Stephanie Jones were both convicted of Adrian’s murder this year.
The Kansas City Star reports that Adrian’s maternal grandmother, his biological mother, and his oldest sister filed a lawsuit against state agencies in Missouri and Kansas, alleging that state workers failed to protect the little boy despite his self-reports and other evidence of abuse in the home.
The newspaper obtained the lawsuit, which was filed in Jackson County this week.
“They (the agencies and social workers) meticulously investigated and carefully documented every violent kick, punch, slap and injury inflicted upon A.J. (Adrian) by his sadistic father and stepmother and generated stacks of records and reports chronicling the ceaseless, stomach-churning abuse,” it reads in part.
After Adrian was removed from his biological mother’s home and placed in the care of his father and stepmother, he was routinely starved to the point of emaciation, beaten, and forced to endure torturous punishments, like standing up to his neck in filthy poolwater for hours and forced to stay outside in the cold without warm clothes on. The couple’s landlord discovered that Stephanie had taken photographs and videos of much of the abuse after Adrian died.
According to the suit, state workers never went further than asking Michael and Stephanie Jones to sign an agreement to “stop torturing the child.”
“As it turned out, that signed paper might as well have been A.J.’s death warrant,” the suit reads.
During the years that Adrian was abused, the family moved homes multiple times between Kansas and Missouri, making it more difficult for state agencies to keep track of them.
“As the records reveal, DCF staff followed the family, as Michael and Heather Jones worked constantly to evade our intervention,” DCF Secretary Phyllis Gilmore said in a statement earlier this year.
“Even when the Jones family moved to Missouri and was no longer within our jurisdiction, our social workers continued to make efforts to communicate with Missouri officials to ensure the family was provided with services and assessed … Sadly, despite our efforts, this tragedy unfolded — the very worst possible outcome.”
Adrian’s family is asking for $25 million in damages.
Feature photo: Family handout