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Updated 06/14/12 – 6:12 p.m.
LAWRENCE, Kan. (CBS) — A couple from west suburban Northlake is charged with child abuse, after two of their five children were found bound and blindfolded in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Kansas.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, Lawrence, Kan., police responding to a call Wednesday morning found a 5-year-old boy sitting beside a large sport-utility vehicle 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. The three older children were not bound.
The parents, Adolfo and Deborah Gomez have been charged with two counts of child abuse and five counts of child endangerment. They were ordered held on $50,000 bond each.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports
The family had traveled to Kansas from their home in Northlake, where they had been renting a house in the 100 block of North Wolf Road for the past few months.
But their next-door neighbors said the family had moved out last week, and were heading to Arizona to find work.
They apparently left many of their personal belongings behind, including a small white delivery-style van in the driveway, and an assortment of items in the overgrown backyard.
Meanwhile in Kansas, the family’s van had broken down, and they had been living in the Wal-Mart parking lot since Monday. Lawrence, Kan., police say they were called to the Wal-Mart on Wednesday morning, after reports of unusual activity in the parking lot.
Upon arriving, police found two of the children bound and blindfolded. Officers and arrested the parents on the spot, but the father, 52-year-old Adolfo Gomez, did not go quietly.
Lawrence Police Sgt. Trent McKinley said, “The male resisted contact with the officer. There was a struggle between the adult male and the officers that initially responded.”
Police say they had to use a stun gun to subdue Gomez, who is believed to be the children’s father. His wife, Deborah Gomez, 43, was arrested inside the Wal-Mart.
According to McKinley, once the children’s father had been arrested, police also took the children into protective custody. Two of them were outside the car by the time Adolfo Gomez had been arrested, and were taken to a waiting ambulance to check on their welfare.
“The (other) three remained in the car for some time before they would come out and speak the officers,” McKinley said.
WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller spoke with the family’s former landlord. Shocked at the news about the Gomez family, Emilio Ochoa said in the two years he knew the family as their landlord in Wood Dale, Adolfo Gomez was a man who laid down the law with his children.
“He was the disciplinarian. The mother more or less let the father do that, and we would hear them yelling at the kids – and the kids crying,” Ochoa said.
Ochoa said he never saw the parents physically abuse the children. He said the children were sent to Christian Bible school every Saturday.
Ochoa said Adolfo Gomez did not work, and Deborah Gomez worked for a construction company during the summer – but otherwise depended on grants and help from charities.
Thimeta Pachonphai, the family’s next-door neighbor, said he never saw the parents do anything suspicious while living in Northlake.
Pachonphai said the family had moved out last week, and that he never talked with them, but, “I saw all the kids.”
Added neighbor Joe Rossi: “It’s crazy. It’s just crazy. You know, every day, you hear about something like this going on, and here it is, two blocks from my house. Didn’t know a thing. It just blows your mind.”
The five children were in temporary protective custody on Thursday.
Adolfo Gomez has a minor criminal record, but nothing regarding child abuse.
In September 1992, he was found guilty of marijuana possession, and sentenced to 7 days in jail. Last December, he was arrested again for pot possession, with a court date scheduled for next week.