The little boy who was found in a De Soto attic last summer, starving and covered with filth, looks pudgy and happy now.
But when he heard his great-grandmother call his name in an empty house and scratched the ceiling in reply on Aug. 17, his little body could stay alive for no more than a day.
After hearing a pediatrician’s assessment and other testimony on Tuesday, Johnson County District Judge Peter Ruddick ordered the boy’s mother, Rachel Perez, 27, to stand trial on charges of attempted second-degree murder, child abuse and child endangerment.
The judge said he sympathized somewhat with defense arguments that it made no sense that Perez intentionally tried to kill her son, who has Down syndrome. But in what is “an ugly, horrible set of facts,” he said, “ nothing here makes sense.”
Deputies and the great-grandmother found the boy, now 7 years old, hours after Perez was arrested on traffic warrants by a deputy who was sent by the boy’s grandfather to check his welfare. Perez’s two daughters were taken into safe custody after the arrest, but her son stayed unnoticed in the attic, covered with excrement, until he was rescued.
The pediatrician, Lisa Spector, testified Tuesday that the boy “had no fat tissue left on his body.” His ribs showed, he’d lost hair and he was severely dehydrated.
“He would not have survived more than 24 hours without food,” Spector said.
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