BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — A husband and wife face charges of child neglect.
Court records show they forced their 12-year-old son to live in solitude for five weeks, locking him in a house and failing to attend to his disabilities.
Probable cause records from the Blue Springs Police Department indicate the preteen lives with cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair.
Blue Springs police reports say the child’s family would watch him using a home security system with cameras, but they provided no close supervision for more than a month.
His parents, 30-year-old Brendan Luke and 30-year-old Janine Luke, were arrested June 11. The boy has been taken into protective care.
The Lukes told police they kept their son at a house they’ve since vacated because he was violent and prone to outbursts.
Police reports show the family made efforts to deceive their neighbors, to make it appear someone was there with the boy.
KDFW spoke reached out to the Lukes on Wednesday, but they didn’t reply.
Lori Ross, CEO of Foster Adopt Connect, understands children with cerebral palsy well. She’s fostered more than 400 children, including two with cerebral palsy.
Ross also operates a nonprofit that advocates for children in the foster system in the Kansas City metro. She said abuse and neglect are worse for children with mental and physical disabilities than for other kids.
“What they chose to do is absolutely uncalled for,” Ross said of the parents charged. “If a child was to need help with feeding or toileting, that’s something that would need an adult caregiver to be with him at all times. That child would potentially be at risk of dying from complications related to those issues.”
Ross said she’s sympathetic to families who seek assistance for children with disabilities within a complicated matrix of agencies. She said that system was already tough to navigate, and during the COVID-19 era, the network of agencies broke down further.
However, Ross said the choices the Luke family made were dangerous.
As of Wednesday, Jackson County court schedules do not include a date for the Lukes’ first appearance before a judge.