One of the children, a 15-year-old, called the Harris County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday afternoon and told authorities his 9-year-old brother had been dead for a year and the body was in the area. inside the apartment, the office said in a statement. MPs responded and found the teenager and two other siblings, aged 10 and seven, living alone in the apartment, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters. The bone remains were also located.
“It appears the remains have been there for an extended period of time. And I insist on the duration, ”said Gonzalez.
The sheriff said it also appeared that the surviving children were “getting along for each other”, with the older brother looking after the younger two. It was not clear if any of the children attended school.
The neighbor bought food for the children
The younger children appeared to be malnourished and had physical injuries, the statement said. The three siblings were taken to hospital for assessment and treatment.
The apartment where the children lived had no electricity and a neighbor had helped the children by charging them a cell phone and buying them food, said on Monday MP Thomas Gilliland, spokesman for the sheriff’s office. .
The mother of the children and her boyfriend were later found, authorities said. Both were questioned and then released, Gonzalez said in a tweet on Monday. Gilliland said investigators were still conducting interviews on Monday and were still awaiting an autopsy report to determine the cause of death of the child whose remains were found.
“Investigators are looking at everything carefully,” said Gilliland.
No one noticed anything unusual
In a statement, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said it was seeking emergency custody of the 15-year-old and his two siblings “to keep the children safe.” The request for custody was filed Monday with a judge. The judge subsequently granted the agency temporary custody of the children.
“Child protection services have a history with the family, but there was no active CPS investigation at the time the children were discovered alone in their apartment,” the agency said.
Neighbors expressed shock and disbelief when they learned of the children. Kayla Williams told the Houston Chronicle that she has two children, but she has no plans to tell them what happened.
“I don’t need to put this in their heads,” she said. ” It’s crazy. “
Investigators were still trying to determine why no one in the apartment complex noticed anything unusual in relation to the apartment where the children lived, Gilliland said.
The apartment complex has referred the appeals regarding the matter to Highmark Residential, the property management company that manages the complex. The management company did not immediately return a call for comment.