(BUTLER COUNTY, Kan.) — Valerie and Doug Herrman pleaded guilty to stealing adoption payments long after their son Adam went missing. The Herrman's reached a plea agreement Friday morning in Butler County court.
In the agreement, they each pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft. They will have to pay back the state $15,488 and each pay a $2,500 fine. The $15,488 is the amount they accepted from the state in adoption payments.
Between November 2003 and July 2005, they took $704 a month from the state. The state provided that money for taking care of their son Adam Herrman. Doug Herrman told the judge Friday the amount of money was based on the fact that Adam was special needs because he had mental problems.
The judge asked the Herrman's where Adam is during the plea hearing. They said they didn't know. They adopted Adam in 1993 and he left their home in 1999. The Herrman's never reported him missing. Sheriff Kelly Herzet says Doug and Valerie are the key suspects in Adam's death. He says he thinks they know more information then they are giving.
Butler County Attorney Darrin Devinney says they went ahead and charged the Herrman's with theft because they had the evidence and didn't want the statute of limitations to run out. He and the sheriff hope by keeping information about Adam out in the public, more people will come forward with possible leads.
Devinney and Herzet say the case is still being worked on a daily basis and they will not give up until the case is solved.