The skeletal remains of a child, and three surviving siblings who appear to have been abandoned, were found inside an apartment in the Houston area, a sheriff said.
One of the children, a 15-year-old, called the Harris County Sheriff's Office on Sunday afternoon and told authorities that his 9-year-old brother had been dead for a year and the body was inside the apartment, the office said in a statement.
the teenage boy told 911 dispatchers that his parents had not lived in the apartment with him and his two living siblings for several months.
Deputies responded and found the teen, and two other siblings ages 10 and 7, living alone in the apartment, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez told reporters. The other child's skeletal remains were also located.
"It appears that the remains had been there for an extended period of time. And I emphasize extended," Gonzalez said.
The sheriff said it also appeared that the surviving children were "fending for each other," with the oldest sibling caring for the younger two. It was unclear whether any of the kids were attending school.
The younger children appeared to be malnourished and had physical injuries, the statement said. All three siblings were taken to a hospital to be assessed and treated.
The 9-year-old's remains were reportedly out in the apartment, not concealed or hidden.
"(We're) connecting all the dots at this point, it appears (the kids) were in there while the body was deteriorating," Gonzalez said.
He called the situation "horrific."
"I have been in this business a long time, and never saw anything like this," Gonzalez said.
The mother of the children and her boyfriend were later located, authorities said. Both were being questioned.
Two boys described in gruesome detail how their brother was beaten to death, just days after authorities found the boy’s skeletal remains in an apartment in West Harris County.
According to court documents read aloud during the probable cause hearing, the dead child’s 10-year-old and seven-year-old brothers witnessed their mother’s boyfriend, Brian Coulter kill the boy. The brothers said Coulter struck the eight-year-old in the face, feet, buttocks, back, legs and groin and that Coulter continued to kick and hit the boy after he had stopped moving.
The seven-year-old said that he stared at his older brother’s face while Coulter was kicking and hitting him and at some point during the beating, his brother stopped blinking.
Once he had killed the boy, Coulter laid out his body on the floor and covered him, according to the court documents. When Williams came into the room, she saw the body on floor and began crying.
The 10-year-old said Williams returned to the apartment sometime later to check on the deceased boy and found that the boy’s “body, feet and teeth had turned into a skeleton” and that his hair “was off.”
The child that Coulter would beat him as well, often hitting him on his buttocks, legs, stomach and face. About three weeks ago, Coulter punched him in the chin, causing his face to swell. He added that Coulter would get “very strong” when he drank beer.
According to the court documents read during the probable cause hearing, the mother of the children, Gloria Y. Williams, admitted that she knew her child was dead in November 2020 but did not notify law enforcement when he was killed because Coulter had told her not to and that she was afraid the three other children would be taken by Child Protective Services. She also said she worried she’s go to jail.
Williams and Coulter were taken into custody Tuesday. Williams was charged with injury to a child by omission, injury to a child causing serious bodily harm, and tampering with evidence, namely a human corpse. Coulter was charged with murder.
Early Wednesday, Coulter’s bond was set at $1,000,000. As a condition of his bond, if released, Coulter must wear a GPS ankle monitor under house arrest until his next court appearance. Williams appeared in court several hours later. Her bond was set at $900,000 -- $250,000 for the count of injury to a child by omission, $300,000 for the count of tampering with evidence, namely a human corpse, and $350,000 for the count of injury to a child causing serious bodily harm.
Earlier Tuesday, authorities ruled the child’s death a homicide. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences said the child died from homicidal violence and suffered multiple blunt force injuries.