Small church in Kansas City, Kansas (USA). Its leaders, Neil and Christy Edgar, have been charged with murdering their adopted son, and with abuse of their other three children. Various rumors circulate regarding the church, and others
from the church have been charged with abuse as well
The leaders of a Kansas City, Kan., storefront church were charged Tuesday with murdering their adopted 9-year-old son and with abusing three other adopted children.
On Tuesday, the pastors of God's Creation Outreach Ministry, Neil E. Edgar, 47, and Christy Y. Edgar, 46, were charged with the felony murder of Brian Edgar.
The Edgars also were charged with three counts each of felony child abuse involving the other three children, who are siblings. Brian was not related to them by blood.
The parents were in jail Tuesday; bond was set at $2 million each.
At a news conference, Wyandotte County District Attorney Nick Tomasic alleged that Brian and his siblings -- boys 16 and 12 and a 9-year-old girl -- were frequent victims of abuse that involved binding and gagging before bedtime. Authorities said the three children were in protective custody.
Tomasic said that Brian, who was homeschooled, died late Sunday at a house on North 82nd Terrace, near State Avenue. Early Monday morning, police said, Neil Edgar brought Brian's body to KU Med. Police then took Neil Edgar into custody.
Wyandotte County Coroner Alan Hancock said in an interview that Brian's mouth had been taped shut and that something like a sock had been stuffed in it. He said there were signs that Brian had vomited and that he had been bound around the chest with a belt. The boy died of asphyxiation, Hancock said.
"This is about as bad (a case of child abuse) as any of them," Hancock said.
The autopsy, he added, showed that Brian had been dead for several hours before being brought to the hospital. The autopsy also found bruises on his cheeks and old marks on his wrists and ankles, suggesting he probably had been bound with a rope in the past.
Tomasic said that the practice of strict physical discipline "is a teaching of the church" and that the case could yield more charges.
Late Tuesday afternoon, police executed a search warrant on the church, 817 Central Ave., and adjacent addresses.
Tomasic recalled that a member of the church had been convicted a few years ago of using a stun gun against a child. Neil Edgar had been called as a witness, Tomasic said.
A Web site describes the church's ministry as one that helps young people find jobs and teaches them to be independent and responsible for their own actions. It also says the ministry aims to help young people develop "a better self-esteem to overcome serious emotional and educational problems."
It's unclear how many members the church has. According to records with the Kansas secretary of state, Christy Edgar incorporated the ministry in April 1992. The church forfeited its corporation status in September 2000 after failing to file an annual report.
The church's two-story building on Central Avenue projects an image of loving ministry. Its name hangs on a heart-shaped sign above the front door. A red awning above a side door says, "Smile, God loves you." Painted on the wall next to the door is a red and sky-blue mural of larger-than-life praying hands. A red neon "Jesus" sign shines above.
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