Charges against Cairus dropped

Thursday, June 4, 2015

After nearly 10 months, Monett man to be released

A Monett man charged in August 2014 with attempted statutory sodomy and attempted statutory rape saw both charges dropped on Wednesday after 10 months in jail and at the Fulton State Hospital.

Given a lifetime diagnosis of autism at a young age, Tyler Cairus, 18, of Monett, was arrested on Aug. 20 after an incident at Monett Elementary School. Wendy Cairus, Tyler Cairus' mother, said she believes the charges were dropped because her son was not on school grounds when the incident occurred. Therefore, there was no premise for the case against him.

"The principal, vice principal, school resource officer and police officer all testified at the pre-trial that Tyler was never on school grounds and stayed on his bike outside the fence," she said. "I believe the charges were dropped due to the fact that he never did anything and that he was never actually on school grounds."

Tyler Cairus 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.

Cairus said she received a call from Fulton Wednesday informing her the charges were dropped. She said she had attempted to contact Barry County Prosecutor Amy Boxx concerning the case, but her calls were never returned.

"I think there's a negligence on the part of the system because the charges were dropped without there being any sort of plan in place," she said. "Between Fulton, Tyler's social worker and myself, we are looking for a different place for him that will be less restrictive, like a group home or something like that that might fit his need."

After his arrest, Cairus was sent to the in-patient psychiatric hospital at Cox North in Springfield, then transported to the Barry County Jail, where he was held on a $100,000 cash-only bond until Nov. 12, when he was moved to Fulton to undergo six months of competency restoration.

Johnnie Cox, former Barry County prosecutor, said Cairus' nearly three-month detainment in the Barry County jail was the only option at the time. Mick Epperly, Barry County sheriff, said his jailers deal with about 10-12 cases per month involving individuals with mental health issues, and jail staff had not received training for such situations.

Wendy Cairus was granted guardianship over her son on Nov. 21, 2014, and in December, Tyler Cairus was moved to an autism-focused building within the Fulton State Hospital.

During his time at the hospital, Cairus at times would become combative, self-harming and argumentative, leading staff to restrain him when they felt necessary. Wendy Cairus' guardianship status gave her more control over her son's treatment, such as being informed of what medications he was being given.

Cairus' time in Fulton proved to be productive on the diagnosis front, as he underwent genetic testing and received a new diagnosis -- Klinefelter syndrome -- which Fulton staff believe encompasses all of the traits previously believed to be caused by autism.

The Klinefelter syndrome diagnosis came from the University Hospitals and Clinics Cytogenetics Only office in Columbia. A chromosome analysis revealed Cairus has 48 chromosomes and four copies of the sex chromosomes, meaning he is XXYY instead of the usual XY.

The XXYY chromosome combination is estimated to occur at a rate of one for every 50,000 male births, and is considered a variant of Klinefelter syndrome.

"Individuals with this karyotype can have a wide range of phenotypes that can include tall stature, gynecomastia, underdeveloped secondary sexual characteristics and infertility," the analysis report said. "Most affected individuals have been reported to have developmental delays and cognitive impairments."

Because of the diagnosis, Cairus has been recommended to undergo genetic counseling.

"His diagnosis brings a mix of feelings for me," Wendy Cairus said. "It has confirmed something we always knew was wrong, but every time we went to a new doctor or a new psychiatrist, he got a new diagnosis.

"I'm upset it's genetic and I can't change that, but I'm happy to know we can treat it specifically from here on out."

Boxx succeeded Cox as Barry County prosecutor in January. As has been her practice since being elected, she did not respond to multiple messages left for comment.

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