HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Authorities confirmed Monday that details remain scarce surrounding the gruesome discovery in a west Harris County apartment of three children left alone in the residence for months with the remains of a fourth sibling.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez confirmed via Twitter that the children’s mother was located late Sunday and that investigators questioned her and her boyfriend throughout the night but released the pair early Monday without filing charges.
Investigators confirmed to KHOU have confirmed that the call placed Sunday prompting a welfare check at West Oaks Apartments was placed by the oldest sibling, a 15-year-old boy who had been caring for his 7- and 10-year-old brothers alongside the remains of their 9-year-old sibling, who had been dead for about a year.
According to the TV station, the children’s mother and others would occasionally bring the children food.
Meanwhile, a neighbor who has lived in the complex for about 18 months told KTRK that she complained for months about a terrible smell coming from the apartment where the boys were found, but no action was ever taken. She said the stench began about four or five months after she moved in to her unit, and that she thought the apartment where the 9-year-old’s remains were found was abandoned.
All three children were transported to an area hospital for treatment, and authorities confirmed that the two younger boys appeared to be malnourished and showed signs of physical injury, KHOU reported.
In a statement issued Monday morning, Child Protective Services confirmed that the agency is seeking emergency custody of all three children and that while the family had a history with CPS, there was no active investigation when the boys were found.
The cause of death of the deceased child will be determined by a medical examiner, KHOU reported.