A Kansas City, Kansas, father who confessed to killing his 7-year-old son and is accused of feeding the boy’s body to pigs has been sentenced to life in prison on Monday.
Michael Jones, who pleaded guilty to a first-degree murder charge in March, declined the judge’s offer to address the court during his sentencing hearing Monday related to the 2015 death of Adrian Jones, according to Kansas City-area television station KCTV.
His wife, Heather Jones, has already been sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years, for her role in Adrian’s death.
Authorities say the little boy was “essentially starved to death” before his remains were found in a pig sty back in 2015, the Associated Press reported.
Prior to his death, the little boy spent the last months of his life confined to their master bedroom and was let out only once a day.
Adrian was found dead on Thanksgiving in 2015. His remains were discovered in a barn on the family’s property.
Wyandotte County Coroner Dr. Alan Hancock said that the boy’s bones had been in the pig enclosure for several weeks by that point. He was believed to have died in September or October 2015.
The disturbing discovery was made after police responded to the home for a domestic violence situation.
While they were on the scene, police were told that the couple’s son had not been seen for some time. The next day, authorities announced they had discovered human remains on the property.
Six other children — all younger than 11 at the time — were removed from the home and taken into protective custody.
Heather Jones told KCTV that Adrian suffered from severe post traumatic stress disorder and emotional detachment disorder due to abuse and neglect even before he was removed from his biological mother’s home, which happened several years ago.
Then the abuse got worse.
Dozens of calls were made to children services in both Kansas and Missouri about Adrian, according to the station. The family moved back and forth across the state line several times to keep people from noticing the abuse. He was also home-schooled to keep teachers in the dark.
At the time charges were filed, the Wyandotte County District Attorney referred to the case as one of the worst investigators had ever seen, according to AP.
The child was found to have been physically and emotionally abused, and had “essentially starved to death,” Sheryl Lidtke, a former prosecutor in the case, said back when Heather Jones was sentenced.
“He was horribly abused, neglected and ultimately killed,” she said. “I’m sure his suffering was unbearable.”
Thirty security cameras were set up in the family’s home, and some of them captured videos of the abuse he suffered in his short life.
The victim’s grandmother — who viewed some of the disturbing images — told the Associated Press that the couple kept Adrian naked in a shower stall that they had modified so he was essentially trapped inside and couldn’t escape.
Sometimes, Judy Conway said, they strapped the little boy to an inversion table; another time, he was made to stand overnight in a swimming pool, with water up to his neck.
Conway added that the videos showed Jones occasionally using a broom handle to beat Adrian, and that alarms had been placed on the family’s food so that the hungry child couldn’t eat.
The grandmother said the images were so horrific when she first saw them that she “physically threw up.”
“What they did to my grandson was beyond horrific,” Conway said.
She described Adrian as “a gorgeous little boy” who had “the kindest heart.”