Adolfo Gomez, 52, and Deborah Gomez, 43, were arrested on June 13, 2012, in Lawrence, Kan., after an alert Walmart shopper reported seeing their two youngest children, 7 and 5, bound with duct tape in the back of the couple’s SUV. Police found the boy, 5, on the ground outside the vehicle, on a pice of cardboard, blindfolded, his hands tied behind his back, and his legs bound together. The girl, 7, was found inside the vehicle after Gomez was arrested. She had also been blindfolded and bound. Deborah Gomez was inside the Walmart buying a bat, two rolls of duct tape and two tarps. Adolfo Gomez, who was in the vehicle “loudly either reciting religious sayings or possibly praying,” had to be tasered three times before he complied. The couple was charged with suspicion of child abuse and child endangerment.
During questioning, police reportedly asked Gomez if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, to which he replied that he had not used LSD in over 30 days, and that he didn’t consume alcohol, because his wife said she would leave him if he did, but that he had not slept in nine days. The Gomezes were each charged with five counts of aggravated endangerment of a child, which a judge dropped to three each in a preliminary hearing on August 14.
In court Lawrence police officer Hayden Fowler testified that when they questioned the couple’s daughter, 12, she said that that her siblings were often taped to keep out the demons. She added that there were demons in the parking lot, and they the family was planning to exorcise them. During Tuesday’s hearing it was revealed that the couple had sold all of their belongings and moved out of their home in the suburbs of Chicago, because “a darkness was coming over the house,” which they believed to have been possessed by demons. Listeners of conspiracy theorist and short-wave radio talk show host Steve Quayle, they mentioned his work on “Fallen Angels,” in which he declares that Satan has launched at attack upon mankind. The family apparently was on its way to Arizona when their vehicle broke down, and so they were living in the Walmart parking lot. The couple’s youngest children, 15, 13, 12, 7 and 5, are in protective custody. They have two sons who attend college in Chicago.
The parents each pleaded not guilty on August 16 to two counts of child abuse and five misdemeanor counts child endangerment. Adolfo Gomez faces an additional count of felony obstruction. Adolofo Gomez’ attorney, Skip Griffy, told the court that binding the children had to do with the family’s religious beliefs surrounding protection against demons, and that the children, also believers, had been willing participants. The couple will be tried separately, Deborah Gomez on October 22, 2012, and Adolofo Gomez on November 5.