Autistic man's hearing set for Friday

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cairus going in weeks for 6-month stay in Fulton

A guardianship hearing for Tyler Cairus, an 18-year-old autistic Monett man being held in the Barry County jail, is set for Friday at 11:15 a.m. at the Judicial Center in Cassville.

Wendy Cairus said the case against her son has put her in a tough position, as she has been advised by her attorney to not pursue guardianship.

"It puts me in an awful position because I was told not to take guardianship because I would be liable for all of the bills for keeping him in Fulton for six months," she said. "I don't understand the legality of it all, and I don't want to give up my rights, but it would put me so far in debt."

Tyler Cairus, who is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond, was arrested on charges of attempted statutory sodomy and attempted statutory rape after an incident at Monett Elementary School. He was allegedly standing outside the fence near the playground when he was approached by school staff, telling school personnel and police that he was at the location to take a child home with whom to perform sexual acts -- by force, if neccesary.

Johnnie Cox, Barry County prosecuting attorney, said he could not comment on how a guardianship hearing could affect the case.

Wendy Cairus was set to attend a guardianship hearing back on Sept. 26, but the hearing was canceled because her son was already being held in the jail.

"They canceled it because they said there's no point in having one since he's already being held," she said.

Cairus said although she is not attempting to regain guardianship at this time, she plans to attend the hearing Friday and hopes to be able to get some answers.

"I hope the judge will allow me to ask some questions so I can know what's best for Tyler," she said. "I feel I have to do what I have to do, but I still have one more child to raise, so I can't be financially bankrupt."

Cairus said she is disappointed in the system because she was not notified by the courts of the hearing, which was rescheduled after a motion for continuance following the Sept. 26 date.

"They did not send me a letter saying they rescheduled, and I feel like they're trying to undermine me," she said.

Tyler Cairus is set to be transferred to the Department of Mental Health in Fulton.

"He will go in the next few weeks, but I can't recall the specific day," Cox said.

Cairus will undergo six months of competency restoration to see if he is able to stand trial.

"They could make the determination that he's competent to proceed and file a motion to proceed, or they could recommend another six months of evaluation, or they could make the determination he is not competent and never will be," Cox said.

After his arrest, Cairus was sent to the in-patient psychiatric hospital at Cox North in Springfield, then transported to the county jail. Cairus was also sent to the Mental Health Department for a one-day evaluation, which found him incompetent. Based on those results, he was ordered to go to Fulton for the competency restoration. The department then had to find a bed for Cairus, forcing him to still be held in the jail.

"The Department of Mental Health is the only facility in the state available for competency restoration," Cox said. "We have to do this about one or two times per year."

Cox said he would not comment on what he believes the competency restoration will reveal.

"I do not want to speculate on what condition he is in," Cox said.

Cox said he has seen competency restoration find people fit to proceed in the past.

Cairus said since her son has been in jail, he has also missed multiple doctor's appointments, which were follow-ups after an anaphylactic shock episode in April, and a heart surgery on Oct. 8.

"He almost died in April, and we had appointments with an allergist, but he has missed both of those," she said. "He has serious health issues that are not being met."

Cairus said the best-case scenario for her would be to get Tyler in her custody at home until the bed in Fulton opened up, but she does not have much faith that will happen.

"I just want to be able to see my son, but there's no perfect solution," she said. "There are no other facilities close to here, either."

Cox said he is pursuing the case against Cairus because it is his job to protect the public.

"This is not something I am doing to pick on someone who is autistic," he said. "This is based on a real threat to school kids here in Barry County."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: