Over a year after the 1999 disappearance of ten-year-old Adam Herrman first came to the attention of police, they have reassured the public that they’re still plugging away at the little boy’s disappearance and probable murder.
[Butler County Attorney Jan] Satterfield says her goal is to have the case to a grand jury by this time next year. Since this is such a complex case, she’d like jurors to help determine whether there’s enough evidence to charge Herrman’s adoptive parents… If a grand jury makes an indictment, the case would go directly to trial.
I only hope that will be the case. The fact that no one even realized this kid was missing for close to a decade is horrible enough. Justice delayed is still justice, and I can’t think of anyone who needs it more. If nothing else, they can get Adam’s adoptive parents for fraud, for accepting benefits for him when he was no longer in their care. My rough estimate is they took about $60,000 in state benefits under false pretenses. But I believe that’s the least of their crimes.
Adam’s case reminds me very much of Peter Kema‘s — another case that remains officially unsolved even though everybody knows what happened to him and who did it.
The prosecutor involved in the Adam Herrman case says it may be months before she decides to file charges against anyone (meaning: his adoptive “parents”) in his disappearance.
Good, sez I. The Herrmans would be facing very serious charges, possibly murder, and this isn’t something you should rush into. You need time to put a solid case together or they could get off. And it doesn’t seem like they’re going anywhere in the meantime. (I do wonder how they are surviving in the community. I bet they’re getting, at minimum, a lot of dirty looks.) I think the best policy in a case like this is to, as they say, “make haste slowly.”
The police think they now have enough evidence to charge Adam Herrman’s adoptive parents in his disappearance, although they don’t say what charges they have in mind. I’m so glad. The cops have presented the case to the prosecuting attorney to set the wheels in motion. I really, really, really hope the DA jumps on this. Of course I didn’t expect the Herrmans to get away scot-free, but I’m relieved to know something seems to be happening here at last.
At minimum, we’re looking at some serious fraud charges, for all the money they took from the state under false pretenses. The Herrmans admitted to it, so that should be no problem. I have no idea how much time you get for that, but it should keep them on ice for a little while. However, I’m guessing the cops are thinking more about child abuse charges or even murder.
The Wichita Eagle
Kansas CW Channel 33
The Kansas City Star
The Augusta Daily Gazette
Police made a fourth and final search for evidence in Adam’s case. Nothing was found, however, and they plan to present a case to the prosecutor shortly. I really hope that charges result. At the very least, the Herrmans can be convicted of fraud; they have admitted they accepted public assistance money for Adam after he “ran away.” But my hope is that the DA decides to go a lot further than that.
I wonder about Adam’s two younger siblings who were also adopted by Doug and Valerie Herrman. Are they still under 18? If so, are they still in the Herrmans’ custody? Have they been interviewed by police? Nothing has been said about them.
The Cleveland Examiner has done a pretty good summary of Adam’s case. According to the Kansas City Star, the police are concentrating on the bathroom at the Herrmans’ former home. Perhaps looking for evidence to substantiate the allegations that he was locked up in there, made to sleep in the tub, etc?
I’m very glad the police seem to be really on this, though how could they not be, with all the publicity and pressure to solve the case. Adam’s disappearance has been plastered on the news all over the US and probably internationally too; if he was alive, he would have seen it and come forward. But I didn’t believe for one minute that Adam was alive past the summer of 1999.
I only hope they can find him so the people who actually cared about him can bury him.
Adam Herrman’s adoptive parents have finally been named as suspects in his case. Shocking, isn’t it? From the article:
While public pressure has been mounting to move the case forward and hold someone accountable, Satterfield said police and prosecutors will take their time building a case. […] “We’re not going to respond to the public pressure,” said Satterfield. “We’re going to do the right thing and these things take time.” That is quite proper — take all the time you need, I don’t think the Herrmans are going anywhere. I hope sufficient evidence is available to charge them and I hope they get whatever the maximum sentence is.
The Kansas City Star
I added his case to Charley two days ago, then updated it yesterday with more information and the AP the NCMEC put out. (They sure are quick.) Now all and sundry and coming forward with abuse stories. Of course they didn’t bother to report any of it when it happened, or if they did, authorities ignored the complaints. It was Adam’s adoptive sister who finally blew the whistle, it turns out. It seems she tried to find Adam through the social services and was told he’d been with the Herrmans until he turned 18, which she knew wasn’t true, and she decided to go to the police. It is commendable that she did so, given as how she was turning in her own parents, but it’s too little, too late.
The Criminal Report Daily did a nice blog entry on Adam’s case. I especially like this line: Valerie Herrman has allegedly admitted to spanking Adam with a belt and forcing him to sleep in the bathtub, but she denies he was abused. Her definition of abuse remains unclear.
One might wonder why Adam’s case is getting so much attention when other cases of children not reported missing for years haven’t been talked about much in the media. I could only find a few articles on the baby Prisma Ortiz Ruiz whom I spoke of in the previous post. I found just one article on Garnell Moore (though it was a long one), who wasn’t reported missing for three years. My guess would be the intense media coverage is because Adam was missing unnoticed for much longer than anyone I’ve ever heard of (except Michelle Pulsifer), he was white, and it’s pretty clear he was murdered.
Remember my recent post on kids whose disappearances go unreported for years? Well, it’s happened again. This is the oldest child I’ve seen yet in a case like this — he was eleven or twelve years old. He was homeschooled, which probably contributed his absence not being noted for so long.
Even if Adam Herrman’s adoptive parents didn’t harm him, they are really sorry excuses for parents for not reporting him missing. They thought he was safe? They thought he might be homeless? He was TWELVE, for crying out loud. And I have a feeling they were guilty of a lot more than neglect. Time will tell.
It goes without saying that Adam is going up on Charley today.