http://www.kansascity.com/news/breaking_news/story/1115133.htmlSheriff: Enough evidence to charge parents of missing Kansas boy
The Associated Press
Posted on Mon, Mar. 30, 2009 11:37 PM
EL DORADO, Kan. | The Butler County sheriff said Monday he thinks his office has found enough evidence to charge the adoptive parents of a boy whose disappearance went unreported for nearly a decade.
However, no one has been charged in the case of Adam Herrman, and Sheriff Craig Murphy stopped short of speculating what charges should be filed. Butler County Attorney Jan Satterfield did not immediately return messages seeking comment Monday.
Adam's adoptive parents, Valerie and Doug Herrman, could not be reached for comment. They currently live in Derby.
Valerie Herrman's attorney, Warner Eisenbise, declined to comment. However, Eisenbise previously has said that the Herrmans are innocent, that the boy was a frequent runaway, and that they didn't report his disappearance out of fear the state would take him and other children away from them.
Dan Monnat, the attorney representing the boy's adoptive father, said his client did not cause any harm to Adam.
"We understand the prosecutor is looking at the investigation and we are confident she will come to the same conclusion," Monnat said.
Then-11-year-old Adam disappeared in 1999 from a mobile home park in Towanda, about 25 miles northeast of Wichita.
Murphy said investigators last week turned over the bulk of their findings in the case to Satterfield.
"Jan is going to move very cautiously," Murphy said during a news conference.
Searchers found no human remains, but the sheriff declined to discuss what evidence they had uncovered.
"Is he or isn't he dead? And from the bottom of my heart, guys, I can't make that call because I don't know," Murphy told reporters. "I wish I could make that call, but I can't."
Murphy said the focus of his investigation continues to be on Adam's adoptive parents. He said the investigation is continuing.
Tiffany Broadfoot, the boy's biological 22-year-old sister, said she hopes charges will be filed.
"I hope justice is served because I feel Adam deserves that," Broadfoot said in a phone interview from her home in Wichita. "I am a little bit hopeful that maybe now charges will be filed and something will be found out instead of having no answers now at least we will know something."
Adam's disappearance became known late last year after his older, adoptive sister voiced concerns about him to authorities. Investigators said they could find no records or indication that Adam was still alive.
The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has confirmed that Adam was in protective custody for two days in 1996 after a report of physical abuse. He was returned to the Herrmans after authorities reviewed the evidence and found the report unsubstantiated. The agency declined to discuss other reports.
A Butler County judge has blocked release of Social and Rehabilitation Services records until authorities determine whether the boy has died or nearly died.
The agency has said the Herrmans continued to receive adoption subsidy payments for Adam for years after went missing. Such subsidies generally are given in situations where the children are difficult to place or in cases in which several siblings are adopted by the same family.