Services held for boy who died of abuse

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Date: 2003-01-10

Services held for boy who died of abuse

The Kansas City Star/January 10, 2003
By Mark Wiebe and James C. Fitzpatrick

Releasing dozens of balloons into a chilly wind, former friends and caretakers said goodbye Thursday to Brian Edgar, whose life was cut short by child abuse.

A private 40-minute funeral at a Kansas City , Kan. , cemetery began with prayers and ended with the singing of 9-year-old Brian's favorite hymn, "I'll Fly Away."

More than 100 people attended.

The Roman Catholic service took place 10 days after Neil Edgar, Brian's adoptive father, brought the boy's body to KU Med.

Sister Peg Driscoll, who belongs to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, coordinated the funeral. She and Sister Anna Mary Lawrence were Brian's foster parents for 10 months in 1999 and 2000.

Driscoll said through an attorney that she had asked Brian's parents, Neil and Christy Edgar, for permission to bury Brian. The Edgars, along with their baby sitter, Chasity Boyd, are charged with first-degree murder in Brian's asphyxiation. The Edgars also are charged with abusing their three other adopted children.

The service began inside the cemetery chapel. After singing and prayers, led by a priest, the service moved outside. Four pallbearers carried Brian's white casket to a hearse, which made a short drive to the grave site.

Before the casket was lowered into the ground, a teddy bear nestled inside a bouquet of flowers was handed to Brian's 9-year-old sister. She and her two brothers, ages 16 and 12, were among those watching as the wind quickly lifted the balloons past nearby power lines and high into the sky.

Many of the adults at the service greeted the three children with hugs and tears. Brian's sister, clutching the teddy bear, rubbed an eye with her free hand.

Away from the emotional ceremony, a joint task force of law enforcement authorities from Wyandotte and Johnson counties continued to investigate the case. As soon as today, murder charges could be refiled in Johnson County .

The Wyandotte County district attorney's office filed charges against the Edgars on Dec. 31, when authorities thought Brian had been killed at a house that the Edgars own at 750 N. 82nd Terrace in Kansas City , Kan.

Later, however, authorities came to think the boy died at a south Overland Park home, at 15718 Birch St. , which the Edgars had rented for several months.

The site of Brian's death is a pivotal issue in the case. The subject was addressed at length in an affidavit that accompanied a search-warrant document filed Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court.

The affidavit says that in his first statement to police, after bringing Brian's body to KU Med, Neil Edgar said that Brian died at a Kansas City , Kan. , house the Edgars own.

The affidavit says he told police detectives that he had given Brian sleeping medication about 10 p.m. Dec. 29 and that he took the boy to the hospital early the next morning after finding him unresponsive.

In his second statement -- the date of which is not included in the affidavit -- detectives said Edgar told them that he had "put a sock across the child's mouth using duct tape to secure the sock." He also told the detectives that he had bound his son around the chest and ankles with belts "to keep Brian Edgar quiet," the affidavit says.

The affidavit does not say specifically whether detectives asked Edgar in the second interview whether the binding and gagging occurred at the home on North 82nd Terrace. But the affidavit goes on to say that the other children told investigators that Neil and Christy Edgar and Boyd had participated in the binding of Brian.

According to the affidavit, the children also said the crime had taken place at the south Overland Park rental home.

The affidavit says that Christy Edgar awakened the two youngest children early on Dec. 30, and told them to pick up tape and socks and put them in clear plastic bags.

The affidavit described the home on Birch as being "in show-like condition" when police searched it.

"The carpet had vacuum tracks in it, the rooms all smelled of deodorizers, no trash was present in the trash cans, and all the beds were made," the document says.

Authorities think that at least some evidence that the children put in bags was later destroyed at a Kansas City home.

The affidavit says the Edgars' 16-year-old son told police that all three children had watched a Mickey Mouse video before they were put to bed the night of Dec. 29.

When police searched the home on North 82nd Terrace, they did not find a Mickey Mouse video. But, the affidavit says, they did find a Mickey Mouse video at the home on Birch.

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