Three children were discovered abandoned in their apartment Sunday with the remains of their 9-year-old brother who had been dead for a year, Texas authorities say.
The oldest of the siblings — a 15-year-old — alerted deputies that his brother was dead in their Harris County bedroom in the room next to his, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. When deputies arrived, they found the 15-year-old and his 10 and 7-year-old siblings living inside the home without any adult supervision, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said in a news briefing.
Skeletal remains of the 9-year-old were found in the apartment and the body was not concealed, the sheriff said in the briefing streamed by KHOU. The body had been in the apartment for a year, Gonzalez said in a tweet Monday.
“Very horrific situation out here, very tragic,” the sheriff said. “I’ve been in this business this for a long time and I had never heard a scenario like this.”
Parents of the children had not lived in the apartment for “several months,” leaving the children in what Gonzalez called “pretty deplorable conditions.” The youngest of the two living siblings “appeared malnourished and showed signs of physical injury,” the sheriff said.
The children’s mother and her boyfriend were located late Sunday night, according to Gonzalez. Charges have not been announced.
Gonzalez said the children were “fending for each other” and the 15-year-old “was basically doing the best he could.”
“Our hearts break for those three. They are still children,” the sheriff said.
The parents and the identity of the deceased child have not been publicly disclosed. Deputies were continuing to investigate the scene Monday morning.