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The Horrific Story Of The Seven-Year-Old Boy Who Was Fed To Pigs

Adrian Jones wanted to grow up and play football. Adrian lived with his mother, Dainna Pearce, and siblings until he was two years old. The state discovered that his mother had left the boy unsupervised and intervened. When the Kansas Department of Children and Families removed the children from her daughter's home, Dainna's mother, Judy Conway, tried to get custody. 

Unfortunately for her, and even more unfortunately for Adrian, the father, Michael Jones, also wanted custody. As the biological father, Michael's wishes came first, and he was awarded custody of the children. Jones did not allow Conway to see Adrian as often as she had when he lived with his mother. This was the first of many warning signs that something was wrong.

What happened next is a horrific tale of abuse that led to reforms in the way two states handle child welfare cases. This is the story of how Adrian Jones became known in the Kansas City Metro area, gruesomely, as the boy who was fed to pigs. 

The Fateful Domestic Disturbance Call

A domestic disturbance call in late 2015 sent Kansas City police to a house on the 5200 block of 99th Street. The house was being rented by Adrian's father and step-mother, Heather. Michael had shot a gun at Heather during a fight. Adrian's father was charged in the incident with aggravated battery and aggravated assault. But what would otherwise be a routine call would turn much, much darker.

Prior to the domestic disturbance call, Adrian had been missing for several months. The children were kept at home, where they were allegedly homeschooled, so the child's disappearance went unreported. But while at the home, Heather told police to look for human bones in the pig pen. It's unclear whether she was just trying to get Michael in additional trouble, or if she was relaying this information to alleviate her own guilty conscious for her role in this horrific incident.

During their investigation, the police found human remains in a barn and over 30 surveillance cameras covering every possible angle of the house. What was recorded by those cameras would later cause one of the investigating detectives to break down in tears on the witness stand. It would also lead to the arrest of Michael and Heather Jones for the death of the young boy.

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Adrian's Tortured Life

Footage recovered from the cameras gave a chilling look at Adrian's last days. Additional gut-wrenching details would later be discovered from photos on Heather's iCloud drive. After she was arrested, Heather asked their landlord, Jen Hoevers, to login to the account and save the photos of her children. Hoevers had no way of knowing that these photos would include more evidence of Adrian's abuse. What she discovered that day cursed her with many sleepless nights.

In the damning photo and video evidence, the abuse that Adrian experienced at the hands of his parents became clear. He can be seen getting beat with closed fists, and even hit in the face with broomsticks. There are photos of him strapped to an inversion table, forced to stand outside, and even sleep, in freezing conditions. Others show him forced to stand in the stagnant water of the family's neglected swimming pool for hours on end. There are even photos of little Adrian being shocked with a stun gun for lengthy periods of time. All of this at the hands of the two people who were supposed to be caring for him.

 

As time goes on, the pictures tell the story of Adrian's deteriorating condition. No longer a vibrant and happy young boy, his final days were spent gaunt and malnourished, with teeth rotting out and eyes sunken into his face. The couple seemed to take glee in the suffering of the child, documenting it as though it were an accomplishment. In one video, the boy is taunted with a plate of food. His hands restrained, and his mouth stuffed with a bar of soap, as he tries desperately to get to the food. Alarms were placed anywhere food could be obtained, so he couldn't get to food when he wasn't being restrained or watched. On the 28th of September of that year, after at least nine months of abuse, Adrian starved to death

The Foreshadowing Facebook Posts

In addition to the iCloud drive, Hoevers had access to Heather's Facebook account. In messages throughout the social media site, the child's step-mother talked about tasing him. Photos showed marks on the boy's body from tasers, and swelling from the time he spent strapped to an inversion table or handcuffed to a wall. He was covered in scratches, presumably from trying to escape his bindings. By the end of his life, the couple no longer even referred to Adrian by his name, calling him merely, "the boy."

In one Facebook post, Heather references the TV show, "The Walking Dead." In this show, a character shoots a young girl in the back, after realizing the child is dangerous. The character distracts the homicidal child by telling her to "look at the pretty flowers." Heather's post makes reference to this event, stating a desire to do the same. She later walks it back, posting: "I can't shoot him unfortunately but I can work the shit outta him til I feel better!"

In what appears to be a dreadful foreshadowing, Heather later joked about the possibility of needing to "feed some pigs a body." But at the time, around Christmas 2014, the family didn't own any pigs. It wasn't until two weeks after Adrian's death that the pigs were purchased, for the sole purpose of disposing of the body. Up until then, the couple had left the boy's body in the shower, where he died alone. 

The Confessions

With overwhelming evidence against them, Heather and Michael confessed to the abuse of the boy and Heather led police to the body. The couple later admitted that, after purchasing the pigs to dispose of the body, they didn't feed them for a period of time, so the animals would be extra hungry when Adrian's body was thrown in the pen. 

Both parents pleaded guilty at trial and were sentenced to life in prison. In the aftermath, the burning question on everyone's mind was, "How did nobody know?" But it turns out people did know, but that wasn't enough to save young Adrian's life. 

A Boy's Unanswered Calls For Help

Adrian himself was the first to alert Missouri authorities to the abuse that he received from his parents. Two years before his death, he told a police officer and a worker at Missouri Children's Division that his dad kicked him in the back of the head and "keeps hitting me in the head and punches me in the stomach and my mom keeps pulling on my ears and it really hurts." Even back then, according to his statement, he was frequently locked in his room and not allowed to eat. "Mommy and Daddy lock me in my room by myself. Mommy and Daddy can't feed me," he said. The state found evidence of the boy being neglected, but unlike Kansas authorities, did not remove him from the home because they found no signs of physical abuse.

The state did try to intervene, however. They placed Adrian in a treatment facility for several months in 2014 after he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder because of the abuse he suffered. He was released on September 14, 2014, almost exactly one year before his eventual death at the hands of that same abuse. The release was on the condition that Michael and Heather follow an aftercare plan. The center never followed through on the plan, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the state by Conway, Adrian's biological mother, and his oldest sister. 

Other Concerns Unheeded

Adrian wasn't the only person to reach out about his abuse. When the family moved to Kansas, the state of Missouri sent the Kansas child welfare department a report about the conditions that Adrian was living and expressed concern for the boy. Between then and the boy's murder, Kansas officials received 10 phone calls about Adrian being mistreated. They were told by one caller that the mother violently beats the kids for no reason. A second concerned citizen told them that Heather was beating the kids and choking Adrian. A third reported that Adrian was eating food out of the trash. 

Child welfare made several visits to the home. During one of them, Adrian told officials the Kansas officials that his parents were abusing him. During a separate visit, he told the authorities that he was being locked in a closet at night. Still, each time the reports were investigated, Kansas child welfare claimed that they found nothing awry. 

Much Needed Legal Reforms

Kansas officials responded to the wrongful death suit in a statement claiming that Michael and Heather Jones worked constantly to evade intervention on Adrian's behalf. The spokeswoman added that the family's frequent movement between Kansas and Missouri made it difficult for either state to keep consistent tabs on the welfare of the children in the home.

Missouri has taken steps to avoid this type of issue in the future. A 2018 law passed by the state will help child welfare officials track families that move across state lines to avoid intervention. The bill will allow caseworkers to share more information with other states, as well as give them permission to take reports for children who have recently lived in Missouri as well as current residents. It also allows Missouri officials to work alongside the other state and requires them to share information with that state. The hope is that the legislation eliminates the type of jurisdiction confusions that caused Kansas and Missouri to drop the ball in protected Adrian Jones. 

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