Authorities arrested a man and a woman Sunday night after finding a 6-year-old boy locked out of their Kansas City home.
The boy may have been outside for up to one hour when officers found him just before 9 p.m., according to a police report. The temperature at the time was about 18 degrees.
State child welfare officials later took protective custody of five children ranging in age from 3 to 14, including the 6-year-old who had been found outside. Officers arrested the two adults for investigation of child endangerment and took them to headquarters for questioning.
On Monday, the Jackson County prosecutor’s office charged Daniel S. Greenfield, 39, and Melanie Y. Davis, 34, each with five counts of abuse or neglect of a child and one count of endangering the welfare of a child.
Two officers responding to a call in the 3300 block of South Benton Street found the 6-year-old boy along with a witness, a 10-year-old girl who said she’d heard someone crying outside her home. The boy, she told police, told her that his parents had put him outside and had been “messing with him.” She called police.
When the officers questioned the boy, he said he had gone to dinner with his family but had fallen asleep in the car on the way home. When he woke up, he told police, he realized that everyone had gone inside the residence and left him outside.
He began to pound on the home’s door and windows, he said, but nobody let him inside.
After a third officer arrived to care for the boy, who was placed in a patrol car to get warm, officers knocked on the home’s door. Both adults inside told the officers that they thought all of the children were asleep upstairs.
While questioning the adults inside, one officer saw his breath and determined the home’s only source of heat was several small electric heaters on the second floor. After noticing the strong smell of urine on the second floor, the officer saw water leaking from a bathroom, causing the floor to be unstable and the carpet to appear soiled. He also noticed water dripping through a part of the dining room ceiling that had fallen through.
The officers requested an ambulance for the 6-year-old. State child welfare representatives, noting the home’s condition and the apparent neglect of the children, took custody of them.