I have blogged extensively before about Adam Herrman, who was eleven or twelve when he disappeared from Towanda, Kansas sometime in the late spring or summer of 1999. His adoptive “parents” never reported his disappearance and they lied to his other relatives so for close to a decade no one even realized he was missing. After his disappearance was finally discovered it came out that his adoptive mother, Valerie Herrman, abused him pretty badly.
Anyway, Valerie and her husband Doug have been charged with welfare theft. I had expected they would be charged with this eventually, since they admitted accepting about monthly state welfare benefits for Adam after he was no longer in their care. The total came to $52,800. They also accepted an adoption subsidy and claimed Adam as a dependent on their taxes.
They have posted bail and been released pending trial. Their attorneys claim it was just a “technical financial offense” and they will try to get the charges dismissed. Um…yeah. I really don’t buy that. Even if we actually accept the story that Adam ran away from home and his parents didn’t report him missing because they would get in trouble (and no one accepts that story), the Herrmans would have eventually realized he was not coming back and should have canceled the payments and subsidies then. It might be a “technical offense” if they didn’t report this for a month or two. Six or seven years, though? Less so.
The prosecutor said these charges are “just the beginning” for the Herrmans and she hopes the investigation will be wrapped up and more charges (including, possibly, homicide charges) filed by the end of the year. In the meantime, welfare fraud is easy to prove and should keep them in cold storage for a little while, at least, though I can’t find anything on how much time they’re facing.
The Tulsa World
KAKE 10 (includes a video of Adam’s biological father)