Onetime Naperville mom guilty in child neglect case
BY BILL BIRD email@example.com January 16, 2013 11:00PM
Former Naperville resident Deborah M. Gomez, 43, was placed on a year of probation Wednesday in a case in which two of her children were found bound and blindfolded in the parking lot of a Lawrence, Kan. Walmart. Her husband, Adolfo Gomez Jr., 52, remains in Douglas County, Kan. Jail, awaiting sentencing in the case.
Updated: February 19, 2013 2:55PM
A mother of five who was convicted of child endangerment while she and her family lived in Naperville was placed Wednesday on a year of probation, after she and her husband left their two youngest children bound and blindfolded in the parking lot of a Walmart in Kansas.
Deborah M. Gomez, 43, and her husband Adolfo Gomez Jr., 52, have been in custody in Douglas County, Kan., since June 13. That was when authorities found the couple’s 5-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter bound by their hands and feet in a Walmart parking lot in Lawrence, Kan.
The couple’s three other children, ages 12, 13 and 15, were found unrestrained inside the family’s Chevrolet Suburban sport utility vehicle.
Deborah Gomez last month pleaded no contest to three counts of child endangerment. Adolfo Gomez previously pleaded no contest to two counts of felony child abuse and three misdemeanor counts of child endangerment, and is to be sentenced Feb. 8.
Angela Keck, Deborah Gomez’s court-appointed attorney, said her client unwillingly participated in the binding and blindfolding of the children, which Adolfo Gomez did to ward off demons. Keck said Deborah Gomez has since been freed from her husband’s influence.
Deborah Gomez said during Wednesday’s court hearing she hopes to regain custody of the children, who have been placed in protective custody.
She also said, if granted permission from probation officials, she plans to move to Arizona. The Gomez family was going to visit relatives there when the couple were arrested in Kansas.
“I love my children very much,” Deborah Gomez said.
The family most recently lived in near-west suburban Northlake. In early 1998, they lived in Naperville in an apartment building on the 1800 block of South Washington Street, just south of the Maplebrook neighborhood on the city’s southeast side.
Naperville police arrested Adolfo and Deborah Gomez on March 13, 1998, after they left their infant sons home alone. The boys at the time were 1 and 2.
Police in 1998 said neighbors found the 2-year-old wandering in the hallway of the building. His brother was found inside their apartment. The children were in good physical condition, but had no adult supervision.
The boys were taken into police custody and later given to officials of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
Deborah Gomez, then 29, arrived home several hours later and was arrested. Adolfo Gomez, who was then 37, came home several hours after that, and also was taken into police custody.
A subsequent investigation revealed both parents worked at night. Police said the couple conceded leaving their children unattended for eight to nine hours at a time on the nights they worked.
The Gomezes were charged with endangering the health or life of a child, a misdemeanor. They pleaded guilty to the charges in October 1998, with a DuPage County Circuit Court judge placing Adolfo Gomez on two years of conditional discharge and Deborah Gomez on supervision, according to court records.
DCFS officials in December 2011 investigated the couple again, following new allegations of child neglect. That probe was closed last April, with no charges filed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.