AP, Jan. 2, 2003
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – A pastor and his wife were charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the death of their 9-year-old adopted son who had been bound and gagged, authorities said.
Neil Edgar, 47, and Christy Edgar, 46, both of Kansas City, Kan., also were charged with three counts of child abuse in connection with the treatment of their three other children, ages 16, 12 and 9. Bond for each defendant was set at $2 million.
The couple work at God’s Creation Outreach Ministry in Kansas City, Kan. A Web site describes the church’s ministry as one that helps youth find jobs and teaches them to be independent and responsible for their own actions. It also says the ministry teaches youth “a better self-esteem to overcome serious emotional and educational problems.”
Telephone calls to the church Tuesday rang busy.
Dr. Alan Hancock, the Wyandotte County coroner, said Bryan Edgar had been dead for several hours before a man, whom police identified as Neil Edgar, took him to a hospital.
An autopsy conducted later Monday found the child had gagged on a piece of cloth, possibly a sock, that was stuffed in his mouth, and asphyxiated. The child’s mouth had been taped shut, and adhesive tape residue was found around his head, Hancock said.
Bruising and blistering marks on his chest and upper arms suggested he had been restrained with a belt, Hancock said.
New and old marks on his wrists and ankles indicated that Bryan had probably been bound with something like a rope, Hancock said.
The child also had a couple of bruises on his cheek, Hancock said.
Bryan was in foster care before he was adopted. The adoption was finished in June 2000, said a spokeswoman with Kansas Children’s Service League, which began handling adoptions in July 2000 for the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.
The Edgars’ three other adopted children have been placed in protective custody. The three children were biologically related to each other but not to Bryan, said Kansas City, Kan., police spokesman Capt. Michael Kobe.