This picture can hardly be surpassed in cruelty.
In an apartment near Houston, Texas, police officers found three neglected children aged seven to 15, apparently abandoned by their parents, and the skeletonized remains of a nine-year-old brother.
The 15-year-old boy called the sheriff on Sunday and told the authorities that the brother’s body had been in the room next to his for a year.
“It seems that the remains have been there for a long time. And I emphasize longer, ”explained Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. The surviving children apparently took care of each other, with the elder looking after the two younger ones. It was unclear whether any of the children were in school.
The younger children appeared to be malnourished and had physical injuries, the statement said. All three siblings were taken to a hospital.
The apartment in which the children lived had no electricity. A neighbor helped the children by charging a cell phone for them and buying them food, said Thomas Gilliland, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
The mother and her boyfriend were later located, authorities said. Both were interrogated but released. So far, nothing is known about the cause of death of the nine-year-old. Do more interviews and wait for the autopsy report, Gilliland said.
The Texas Family Welfare Service is now applying for provisional custody of the 15-year-old and his two siblings “to ensure the safety of the children”. The application for so-called emergency custody was submitted to a judge on Monday and approved.
How such conditions were possible is completely unclear. The youth welfare office has a history with the family, but at the time when the children were discovered alone in their apartment, there was no active investigation, the authority said.
The main part of the investigation is now why no one in the residential complex noticed anything unusual, the sheriff spokesman said. And why the neighbor who provided the children with food did not inform the authorities.