Kansas Police Find Malnourished Six-Year-Old Boy in Attic

DESOTO, KAN -- A Kansas woman is in custody, charged with child abuse and endangerment, after Johnson County Sheriff's deputies found a severely malnourished six-year-old boy in the attic of a DeSoto, Kansas, house earlier this week.

Deputies say that they went to the home at the request of a relative on Aug. 17 to conduct a welfare check on the child. Police checked the home and talked to his mother, Rachel L. Perez, who claimed the boy was not at home.

Without finding the child, police arrested Perez on an outstanding warrant. Later that same night, around 11 p.m., police returned to the residence again at the request of a relative and found the six-year-old boy in the attic. Police described him as very fragile and malnourished. They also said the boy was extremely thin and was so malnourished, his skeletal structure could easily be seen.

Property manager Tim Roberson said that the conditions the boy was found in were "disgusting."

"I was up there a while ago and it was probably 150 to 200 degrees up there," said Roberson, who said police told him that the child was covered in feces and weighed around 20 pounds.

"There's feces on the bottom of the sheet rock where he was sitting there, there was all kinds of stuff in there. It's really disgusting."

"Anytime you run across a child in need, no matter what the situation is your heart always pours out for them," said Master Deputy Tom Erickson of the Johnson County Sheriff's Department.

The boy was taken to Children's Mercy Hospital and is presently in Police Protective custody. Perez was arraigned on Thursday on charges of child abuse and neglect, and is being held at the Johnson County Detention Center in lieu of a $250,000 cash-only bond. Roberson said the boy has Down's Syndrome, and that Perez has two other young daughters and is five months pregnant.

"She's a real good tenant for the most case, but I went inside the apartment a while ago and it just turns your stomach it's so disgusting," said Roberson.

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