Herrman couple charged wth fraud
By the Associated Press
El Dorado, Kan. — The parents of a southeast Kansas boy whose 1999 disappearance went unreported for years were charged Wednesday with fraudulently collecting more than $50,000 in adoption subsidies.
A felony theft charge filed in Butler County District Court claims that between May 1, 1999, and July 8, 2005, Doug and Valerie Herrman collected $52,800 in adoption subsidies from the state while falsely claiming Adam Herrman as a dependent.
The Herrmans are free on bond. Their first court appearance is scheduled for next Wednesday.
Valerie Herrman's attorney, Warner Eisenbise, described the theft count as a "technical financial charge." He said he and Doug Herrman's attorney, Trevor Riddle, plan to enter not guilty pleas on the couple's behalf.
The Hermanns, whose current place of residence was unclear Wednesday, have said 11-year-old Adam ran away in 1999 from the mobile home park in Towanda where the family then lived.
But Adam's absence wasn't reported until his older sister contacted authorities in December 2008.
Butler County Attorney Jan Satterfield said she is still pursuing a homicide investigation in Adam's disappearance and considers the Herrmans to be suspects.
Several searches have been carried out near the mobile home park 25 miles northeast. The searches yielded no human remains, and authorities have declined to say whether any evidence was found.
However, investigators have said they could find no records or indication that Adam is still alive.
Doug and Valerie Herrman told authorities they didn't report the disappearance because they feared they would lose custody of Adam and other children in their care. Relatives said Valerie Herrman explained Adam's absence by saying he had been returned to state custody.