Parents charged after 2 children bound, blindfolded - FOX 32 News Chicago

Parents charged after 2 children bound, blindfolded

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Adolpho Gomez. Adolpho Gomez.
Deborah Gomez Deborah Gomez
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A suburban couple faced a judge in Lawrence, Kansas on Thursday and were both charged with two counts of felony child abuse and five counts of endangering a child.

Deborah and Adolfo Gomez, of west suburban Northlake, were arrested Wednesday after a Wal-Mart customer called police from inside the store saying they saw a child in the parking lot with his arms tied behind him sitting next to a van.

The children are aged five through 15. Officers say the two children, ages 5 and 7, were found bound and blindfolded in the family's Chevy Suburban SUV that had been parked in the parking lot since Monday. The vehicle had no license plates, according to police.

Police say the family was traveling to Arizona to see relatives when their SUV developed mechanical problems on I-70 and they stopped in Lawrence and had been living in the lot for at least a day.

The vehicle was surrounded by police while the mother was shopping inside the Wal-Mart. They say the father resisted when they tried to enter the vehicle, and they used tasers to subdue him.

Authorities in Lawrence are making temporary arrangements for all five of the children, while the parents are held at the Douglas County jail.

As for any injuries, the police made no mention of any in their statement, the local paper reports that medics examined family members at the scene and no one was taken to a hospital.

A Wal-Mart spokesman told the local paper that it is reviewing surveillance video and will provide any relevant video to the police.

Their landlords told the Sun-Times that he is surprised by the allegations, describing the family as "devout Christians."

A bond hearing was held for the Gomez's Thursday afternoon where formal charges are expected to be announced.

According to the Chicago Tribune, both parents left behind a trail of arrests and financial problems in Illinois.

Deborah, who worked as a handler at UPS until recently, was placed on supervision in October 1998 after she plead guilty to misdemeanor endangering the life of a child. She admitted leaving two young sons, then ages 2 and 3, home alone for 8 hours on March 13, 1998 when the family lived at a Naperville apartment. Prosecutors brought her back into court in 2001 after they said she failed to comply with counseling and parenting classes. She later complied.

Adolfo Gomez is currently unemployed. He was released from a stint in prison in January 1984, where he served less than 3 years for burglary and theft convictions. He later was arrested three times by police in Bartlett, Glendale Heights and Lombard on suspicion of driving intoxicated.

Gomez then pleaded guilty to a November 2007 DUI in Lombard in which his blood-alcohol level was tested at .138, above the legal threshold of .08, court records show.

The librarian at the middle school the 13 and 14 year-olds attend told FOX Chicago News that they often frequented the library, and described the children as sweet and extremely well-mannered.

"I just wish they had said something to us. We could have pointed them in the right direction to get some help," the librarian said.

Brittany Lopez attends West Leyden High School with one of the family's older children, who she describes as funny and intelligent.

"I didn't think that would actually happen," Lopez said. "It just doesn't sound like something would go wrong like that."

A spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services says the agency opened a "substantiated neglect investigation" into the family in 2011, and the agency was providing "supportive services" to the family as recently as April.

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