Three Houston children, skeletal remains found in apartment as children’s mother and her boyfriend are released after questioning as investigators seek to find out how kids were abandoned and fended on their own.
How could this have happened and how did it continue for a year….?
A Houston, Texas mother and her boyfriend have been released without any charges, after the woman’s three malnourished children, ages 7, 10, and 15, were found living alone in an apartment in deplorable conditions, along with the decomposing remains of their nine-year-old brother who police say had been dead for a year.
The starving siblings and skeletal remains were found at 3535 Green Crest, near Addicks Clodine & Westpark Tollway, in Houston around 4.30 pm on Sunday, after responding to a request for a welfare check that was made by eldest child.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales said the three brothers were living without adult supervision for months in deplorable conditions and that the body of the dead child was on full display, prompting repeated complaints about a terrible smell from a neighbors.
In an update on late Sunday, Gonzalez revealed that the children’s mother and her boyfriend have been located and interviewed by homicide detectives.
‘Fending for each other…’
On Monday, the sheriff announced that the couple were released without being arrested or charged with any crime. No explanation was provided for the decision to let the pair go.
Authorities have not said whether or not they were looking for the children’s biological father.
While there were no indications that the children were locked in the house, they had seemingly been abandoned by adults and were ‘fending for each other.’
‘I think the oldest sibling was doing the best he could to take care of the others,’ Gonzales said. He did not say whom the apartment was registered to, nor who was paying the rent.
‘Connecting all the dots, it seems they were in there while the body was deteriorating.’
The decision to release the unnamed mother and her boyfriend led to some social media users on Twitter commenting.
Posted one user: ‘A neighbor had been feeding the kids and letting them charge their phone. So they KNEW?! C’mon, charge somebody!’ Responded another user: ‘How were the cellphones paid though??? This is so strange.’
How did children survive? Not noticed by neighbors or school?
HCSO is now investigating to determine the circumstances that led to the death of the minor and how long the kids had been alone.
A neighbor in the apartment complex told KTRK that she complained for months about a foul odor emanating from the unit where the discovery was made over the weekend.
All three surviving children have since been taken to a hospital to be evaluated and treated.
The minors are now receiving professional assistance, and victim’s advocates have been made available to help them cope with the trauma.
Homicide investigators along with CPS and Child Abuse investigators are also working on the case.
It is unclear whether any of the surviving siblings were enrolled in school.
Skeletal remains that appear to be from a child were discovered inside a Houston area apartment where 3 children were found inside, abandoned. Investigators say a teen called authorities saying his brother had been dead for a year in the room next to his. https://t.co/6EZcbrq39o
— KTVU (@KTVU) October 25, 2021
Unaccounted vile odor
CPS said it was seeking emergency custody of three children.
Residents of the area said that management had been doing inspection rounds in the area for the last couple of weeks.
A neighbor living next door to the siblings told KTRK she had no idea there was anyone occupying that unit, let alone children.
She said that 13 or 14 months ago, she first noticed a vile odor wafting from what she thought was an abandoned apartment.
The smell was so bad, the woman said, that she would be forced to turn off her air conditioning to prevent it from entering her apartment through the vents.
The neighbor said she complained several times to the building’s management about the smell, but it is unclear if anyone had gone to the unit housing the siblings to inspect it.
Police said the investigation is still in the preliminary stages .
‘Very horrific situation here, very tragic. I’ve been in this business for a long time and I’ve never heard of a scenario like this, it really caught me by surprise,’ said Gonzales when addressing the media on Sunday evening.
‘We are trying to identify next of kin to determine exactly what happened and how we got to this point…We’re going to make sure we conduct a thorough follow-up investigation,’ he added.
The investigation remains active with possible charges in the future.