Arrest warrants were recently issued for the adoptive parents of a disabled 15-year-old Washington boy who reportedly died in November weighing 65 pounds.
Late last month, KOIN obtained probable cause documents charging Felicia Adams and Jesse Franks with second-degree murder and homicide by abuse in the death of Karreon Walker-Franks. However, authorities have been unable to locate the pair.
Walter-Franks died on November 27, 2020, after Adams took him to an emergency room and claimed he became unresponsive while bathing him. While his cause of death was initially deemed pneumonia, funeral home staff contacted authorities after being concerned with the state of the teen’s body. A Clark County medical examiner subsequently listed his cause of death as starvation and neglect.
Prosecutors said the couple essentially tortured the deceased teen and treated him with “deliberate cruelty,” according to KOIN.
Reports indicated that Walker-Franks was autistic, developmentally disabled, partially blind, incontinent, and non-verbal. Adams is the deceased teen’s maternal aunt, and she had adopted the late teen and his two younger brothers in 2012.
Seven days before the boy’s death, a Child Protective Services worker visited the three brothers at Adams and Franks’ home. The children remained in the residence despite a younger brother allegedly telling the social worker they witnessed Adams strike Walker-Franks with a cane for vomiting.
A day before the CPS visit, aunt Letricia Brown reportedly contacted the agency and claimed Water-Franks resembled a “walking skeleton” and that he “falls down due to malnourishment.” Brown is reportedly Adams’ sister.
In addition to the welfare visit a week before Walker-Franks’ death, the state had received two reports in 2017 about Adams withholding food from her children. Days before the 15-year-old died, Brown reportedly told child welfare employees that the boys had been starved for years and they had to steal food to eat.
Adams was accused of removing a doorknob from a bedroom door to prevent the children from leaving. She allegedly also required Walker-Franks to use only one diaper a day, resulting in him coming to school dirty.
The deceased teen’s middle school teacher reportedly told authorities that Walker-Franks often came to school dirty — and that his guardians did not want him fed at school. Despite this, staff gave him food while the other children were eating, documents showed.
A middle school counselor reportedly said they contacted Adams after Walker-Franks came to school “starving and crying,” and one of his brothers claimed they were not fed a whole weekend because they accessed the fridge without permission. Adams allegedly said it is her business how she disciplines her children.
A high school teacher said that Walker-Franks attended a virtual learning class a week before his death, but he appeared spaced out and his cheekbones were visible. Staff attempted to arrange an in-person class a month before the teen’s death but Adams allegedly declined.
It is unclear whether the middle and high school Walker-Franks attended ever reported their concerns to authorities. However, authorities believe school closures related to the coronavirus pandemic likely played a role in the neglect that eventually killed the disabled teen.
State officials removed Walter-Franks’ two surviving brothers from the home, but it is unclear where they are living now.
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[Featured image: Karreon Walker-Franks/KOIN video screengrab]