A timeline of events in the case of De Soto woman Rachel Perez.
Created by shaunhittle on Jun 26, 2011
Last updated: 07/12/11 at 01:09 PM
Rachel Perez case has no followers yet. Be the first one to follow.
A woman charged with locking her malnourished son in the attic of her De Soto home was sentenced to more than eight years in prison Thursday morning.
Johnson County District Judge Peter Ruddick gave Rachel Perez the maximum sentence for each of these counts:
• Attempted second-degree murder, 61 months.
• Child abuse, 34 months.
• Aggravated child endangerment, seven months.
Perez pleaded guilty to all three charges on March 18.
Perez's 6-year-old son was found Aug. 19 by Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies who came to the home at the request of Perez’s grandmother, Patricia Moran.
The sentence that Ruddick handed down is significantly more than the 60 to 61 months Perez's attorney, Jason Billiam, asked for in light of the late-added charge of attempted murder.
"This case began with just the charges of child abuse and aggravated child endangerment and that's truly what this case is about," Billiam said before the court. "The charge of attempted murder was just added to increase my client's potential time, it doesn't make sense."
As he had in Perez's earlier court appearances, Billiam argued that Perez never showed intent to kill her son, who has Down Syndrome and weighed less than 20 pounds when he was rescued from her attic.
"I love my son, he's my baby," said Perez in her final plea to the court. "I don't know why I did what I did, I just panicked at the thought of losing him (to social services)."
Perez presented photos of her son and two daughters taken before her arrest and the boy's hospitalization, stating they showed proof of her love for her children.
The foster mother for the children, Stacy Eastwood, the children's great-aunt, also spoke before the court, asking that Perez receive the maximum sentence. She testified about the boy demonstrating the abuse he claims to have received from Perez, hands around his throat and punches being thrown at him, and spoke about the confusion experienced by Perez's daughters.
"These girls have overwhelming feelings of guilt and helplessness, (the boy) suffers from PTSD, we try to help them heal from their past but we can't know what they went through," Eastwood said. "For Rachel Perez to receive a sentence that would be less than how long her son has been alive would be a great injustice in my eyes."
Ruddick agreed with Eastwood, handing down the maximum sentence.
"Ms. Perez and her attorney keep trying to make a logical explanation for her actions but I find them unfathomable regardless," he said. "The maximum sentence in this case is still not terribly long, given what happened to her son."
The boy is recovering well, and Moran estimates he weighs at least 45 pounds. Perez's youngest child, a boy born while she was in custody, is also in foster care but it is unknown where.
"All three of the kids are doing great, they're with fantastic foster parents," Moran said. "We (Moran and Perez's father, Martin Foster), still get to see them and they're in good hands."
OLATHE — A woman accused of locking her young son in the attic of her De Soto home will stand trial on charges of child abuse and attempted second-degree murder.
On Tuesday, Johnson County District Judge Peter Ruddick ordered Rachel Perez, 27, to also stand trial on a third charge, aggravated child endangerment.
Perez was charged last August after Johnson County sheriff’s deputies discovered her then 6-year-old son confined to the attic. Prosecutors said the 20-pound boy, who has Down syndrome, was severely malnourished and covered in fecal matter.
Dr. Lisa Spector, a specialist in child abuse cases, was among doctors who cared for the boy when he arrived at Children’s Mercy Hospital on Aug. 17.
“Given the condition (the child) was in when he was brought to the hospital, he was nonambulatory and had little to no muscle tissue remaining. I don’t think he would have lived another 24 hours,” Spector testified on Tuesday.
Spector also said it would have taken weeks to months of improper nourishment for a child to reach that state of malnourishment. She reported that the boy is recovering well.
In video interviews that were played in court, the boy’s sisters, ages 8 and 5, indicate the boy was confined, off and on, for several months, if not years.
The boy’s younger sister said her brother had been in the attic for two years. She also said Perez often left all three children home alone for hours at a time, while she went out with friends or visited her boyfriend.
“My mom stopped giving [my brother] food a long time ago but I don’t know why,” the girl said. “He would just cry and cry and I felt sad for him.”
The other sister said her brother’s cries were one reason their mother left the boy home alone and in the attic.
“She said he was too annoying and he kept crying and screaming,” she said. “So she left him in the house when we would go out, she kept him away from people.”
Perez’s boyfriend, Jose Acosta, said he had only seen the boy a handful of times.
“I’ve known Rachel about a year and I’ve regularly spent time with [her daughters] but I’ve only seen [her son] maybe two or three times,” Acosta testified. “She always told me he was with his father or other relatives.”
Perez will return to court March 18 for arraignment.
A preliminary hearing has been postponed for a De Soto woman who faces charges in Johnson County District Court alleging she kept her starving 6-year-old son in the attic of her home.
The hearing for Rachel Perez, who is charged with child abuse, aggravated child endangerment and attempted murder, originally was scheduled for Tuesday. It now will be held Feb. 22.
Perez's defense attorney, John Boyd, who was assigned to the case by the public defender's office, informed the court on Tuesday morning that he would be withdrawing as Perez's attorney because of a conflict. Boyd refused to elaborate, saying it would violate confidentiality rules.
Perez is being held on $250,000 bond.
"I can't wait for it all to be over," she said when she learned of the continuance.
A De Soto woman charged with child abuse and aggravated child endangerment for starving her 6 year-old son in the attic of her home is seeking a reduction in her bond.
Rachel Perez appeared in Johnson County District Court Thursday morning asking for her bond to be reduced from $250,000 to $5,000 — or less — citing her pregnancy as the reason.
Johnson County District Judge Peter Ruddick set a hearing for Sept. 17 to consider her request.
Perez, 26, is approximately four months pregnant and has two daughters, who, as of Monday, are in state custody. Her son, who has Down syndrome, was found by sheriff's deputies in Perez's attic on Aug. 17, emaciated and covered in feces. The boy was taken to Children's Mercy Hospital to recover.
DE SOTO — A 6-year-old boy found confined to his mother’s attic earlier this week is doing well.
The boy, who relatives describe as always having been on the small side, has Down syndrome and weighed only 20 pounds Tuesday when he was taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital for emergency treatment. Deputies found the boy covered in feces in the cramped attic of Perez’s duplex Tuesday night.
Sarah Swain, the lawyer for the boy’s grandparents, reports that the family is hopeful the boy will be released from the hospital as early as next week.
Where the boy will go once he is released is still not clear. The boy’s grandparents — Rachel Perez’s father and stepmother — plan to petition the state for custody of Perez’s three children, their attorney said. Perez’s daughters, ages 8 and 5, were with the grandparents until Thursday, when they were taken into state custody. Swain said the grandparents will meet with SRS officials Monday morning to begin custody hearings.
The girls are in good health, Swain said.
How long the 6-year-old had been confined in the attic is still uncertain. A friend of Perez’s who declined to give her name said 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 said 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,” Swain said.
DE SOTO — A 26-year-old De Soto woman is in jail, facing charges of child abuse and aggravated child endangerment after authorities found a malnourished boy 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 grandmother, Patricia Moran, 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. His condition is listed as critical.
Perez is being detained at the New Century Adult Detention Center. Officials said their investigation is continuing.
It is unknown how long the boy had been confined to the attic.
Perez has two other children and is approximately four months pregnant. The other children, girls ages 8 and 5, are in the custody of Perez’s father and stepmother in Bonner Springs. They are in good health, officials said.
Perez was charged with child abuse, aggravated child endangerment and driving with a suspended license at a court appearance Thursday in Johnson County District Court.
Her next court appearance will be next Thursday.