Updated: July 15, 2012 3:36PM
LAWRENCE, Kan. — A Northlake mother and father were in custody in Kansas after police reported finding children bound and blindfolded in a Wal-Mart parking lot where the family may have been living since Monday.
Lawrence police responding to a call Wednesday morning found a 5-year-old boy sitting beside a large SUV with his hands tied and a blindfold over his eyes. A 7-year-old girl who was also bound and blindfolded was inside the vehicle along with three other children, ages 12, 13 and 15.
Officers said they used a stun gun to subdue a man believed to be the children’s father. Adolfo Gomez, 52, and Deborah, 43, were arrested on suspicion of child abuse and endangerment, officials said.
The family, described as devout Christians, was heading to Arizona when the van broke down Monday in Lawrence.
The family’s landlord told the Chicago Sun-Times that Adolfo Gomez planned to take his family to North Dakota or Montana to look for work.
The landlord said he was shocked when he learned the pair had been arrested.
“That doesn’t sound right — not at all,” said the man who did not want to be named.
The landlord said he had rented rooms to the family in his Northlake home for the last three months.
Adolfo Gomez, who liked to jog, collected scrap metal and his wife worked at UPS, the man added.
“They were really good parents,” the landlord said. “The kids were really well mannered.”
He said the older children even had their own bibles and all the youngsters attended schools in the neighborhood.
“They were good Christians,” he said. “They never even put on an R rated movie — just strictly family entertainment.”
Stefano Esposito and AP