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Parents face neglect charges

The Examiner staff
Janine Allen

A Blue Springs husband and wife face child neglect charges after police say they left the woman’s 12-year-old son alone and locked in a house while they lived in another home.

Jackson County prosecutors charged Brendan Luke and Janine Allen, both 30, with abuse or neglect of a child. They were arrested June 11, and the boy, identified in court documents as “TLM” is in protective custody.

According to court documents, the couple married last year and left TLM, who was wheelchair bound and severely disabled, in their previous home after moving in May to another Blue Springs home about two miles away.

Allen told police said TLM, who had cerebral palsy and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy due to traumatic birth, had been abused by his biological father and grew to have violent outbursts against the family, including the couple’s younger children.

Police had first been called about June 1 about a child being left at home for weeks. Allen described how the couple had a video monitoring system with alerts for movements and sounds that allowed them to keep track of the child and respond as needed.

Police say the videos and interviews with neighbors showed the couple did not keep close supervision, had TLM locked in his bedroom unable to open the door and tried to deceive neighbors to make it appear someone was with the boy more than they really were.

When police got search warrants for both homes, they found feces on the floor and a smell of urine in the first home and they believed the second home had sufficient space to maintain separation between TLM and the other children.

A Children’s Division social worker said he had told the couple that because of TLM’s physical and mental limitations, he should not be left alone for any lengthy period and that because of TLM’s outbursts a residential facility was the best option. The social worker did not know TLM had been left alone at home.