Behind the Headlines

Scene of a Crime?

"We're at Pine Ridge, where Valerie, and Doug and Adam used to live. You can see the spot where they dug up to try to find evidence or a body," she tells Dr. Phil cameras, gesturing to a fenced-off plot of land.

Valerie holds up a newspaper bearing the headline: Missing Boy's Parents Named as Suspects. "It's very painful to read it, to know that my sister and brother-in-law could be accused of murdering Adam. In my heart, I don't think Adam's alive. I think my sister, Valerie, she didn't mean to, but she just went too far and Adam's gone."

When the videotape ends, Dr. Phil turns to Adam's biological parents. "What do you think about when you're hearing all of this that was observed and going on?" he asks. "How do you feel about it when you hear about this?"

"Angry, frustrated," Gerri says.

"Talk to me about why he was taken from your home and placed with this other family."

"Because of a situation with the oldest child." Gerri says.

"How many children have you had removed from your care by Child Protective Services?" Dr. Phil asks.

"In the State of Kansas, eight."

"Eight children," Dr. Phil says, letting that revelation sink in.

"I've been doing this a long time. It's not just a matter of course that eight children be removed from a mother. What did they determine you were doing with these children that they had to remove them?" Dr. Phil asks Gerri.

"Nothing. It was based on what I did to my oldest daughter," she replies. "I left a black-and-blue mark on her leg."

"You're telling me that you left one black-and-blue mark on one child, and they removed eight kids over the years?"


Dr. Phil points out that Irvin is the father of two of Gerri's children. "Why did you not take those two children when they were removed by Child Protective Services?" he inquires.

"I was going through the court proceedings with her at the time. Once the court proceedings were over with, I went back to Indiana. In Indiana, my lawyer contacted me and said, ‘They're fixing to terminate Gerri's parental rights, and they're going to terminate yours also in the same batch.' I said, ‘What can I do?' He said, ‘You need to have a psychological evaluation done, you need to have a home study done,' and a couple of other things that I don't remember," Irvin explains. "I tried everything I could to get those two children into my home. They sent back to Kansas and said that I'm not mentally capable of taking care of my two minor children so they decided to terminate my parental rights."

Turning to Nancy, Dr. Phil summarizes, "We've got a situation where eight children have been removed from this biological mother. The biological father's rights were terminated to two of the kids, and Adam, who is now, I guess, 21 years old, is just out there missing."

"The reason you can't make sense of it is because you're not hearing the whole story. You are approaching it in a rational manner. You're only hearing a sliver of the story that the biological parents, Irvin and Gerri George, want you to hear," Nancy says. "Look, you don't take away somebody's parental rights because their home is too small. In the home I grew up in with two other siblings, a mom and a dad, you could stand in one place and see the whole house. They didn't take us away. We had the happiest home that I've ever seen. So you're not hearing the whole story from them."

Nancy turns her wrath on Gerri. "She clearly beat her daughter and left her black and blue. So the children, eight of them " and I noticed she said, ‘in Kansas' " are there other children somewhere else, in some other state?"

"I have two of them at home with me in Sterling, Colorado," Gerri interrupts. "They're doing just fine. They're both in school, they're both getting good grades, and they're healthy as a horse."

"There were multiple warnings. Little Adam was actually taken away from the Herrmans on one occasion and went to the Wichita Children's Home for a couple of days when the state suspected they were abusing the little boy," Nancy says. "They put him back in the Herrman's home. There were several occasions when the state was alerted, ‘Danger, danger! This child is being abused physically.' Nothing happened."

Dr. Phil says that children need to be protected, and he points to Adam's case as an example. "If there are parents at home that know of these kinds of situations, people have to do something. Children don't have a voice. They don't have the ability to know who to pick up the phone and call and say, ‘Rescue me. Save me,'" he explains. He turns to Kim. "I find it astounding that you could go home at night, and go to bed, knowing that a little boy was across town chained up in a bathtub."

He addresses Nancy. "I want people to understand what they have to do here. They have to pick up the phone and call the authorities," he says.

"It's so easy, Dr. Phil. I'm just sitting here thinking of my own children and how defenseless they are, how they trust me. It's on me to ensure their safety and their welfare. That's all children have in this world, and everybody turned the other way," Nancy says. "All we can do for Adam Herrman right now is to seek justice. And I'm happy to report that it is under investigation. That's the only bright spot in this tragedy."

Dr. Phil shows a picture of Adam at age 11 and an age-progression photo of the young man at 21.

Nancy adds a final comment about Adam's adoptive parents. "They got $50,000, Dr. Phil. Don't forget about that. After they claimed the boy ran away at age 11, after they beat him with a belt until he was black and blue " that's what they confessed to " they kept collecting $700 a month of our tax money while the boy was gone. Over $50,000 they took, pretending the boy was still in the home."

"We have to say that these are allegations until there are convictions. We have to hope that this boy is out there alive somewhere," Dr. Phil says. "Adam if you are, if you are out there, come forward and tell your story," Dr. Phil says.

If you know of Adam's whereabouts, please call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST1-800-THE-LOST, or 1-800-843-56781-800-843-5678.