Teddy bear
'To call this horrific would be an understatement,' said a sheriff's spokesman.Flickr/Caroline

A Texas mother charged with felony abuse after authorities found two sobbing toddlers injured and chained in her backyard is pregnant with her seventh child, according to local officials. Porucha Phillips, 34, has been charged with two counts of felony abuse and is being held in the Bexar County jail in lieu of $150,00 bail, reports the San Antonio Express-News.

Her husband has not been charged. Investigators determined he was working when the toddlers — and Phillips' own six children — were found alone at their San Antonio house. He is cooperating with the investigation.

The horrific tale unfolded when neighbors called police after hearing young children crying for several hours at Phillip's home, said Bexar County officials. Police arrived after midnight the morning of 29 April to find a sobbing two-year-old boy chained to the ground and a whimpering three-year-old girl tied to a door with a dog leash.

The little boy was "chained as if he was a dog," sheriff's spokesman James Keith told local CNN affiliate KSAT-TV. "There was no slack in the chain. His pants were down. You could tell he'd been here for a while. And then a short distance away, a 3-year-old girl who was tied to a door with a dog leash was just exhausted."

The girl had a broken arm. She was rushed to intensive care at a nearby hospital. Phillips' own six children, ages 10 month to 13 years, were found inside the house in conditions "as bad as it gets," said one investigator.

There were no adults on the scene. Keith called the situation "sickening," adding: "To call this horrific would be an understatement."

He said the mother of the two sibling toddlers was located in California and was cooperating with the investigation. Officials were still attempting to determine the extent of her involvement. Investigators believe Phillips was supposed to be in charge of caring for the two children.

"The biggest question now is what she [their mother] is doing in California and why are her kids here," Keith said. All eight children were taken from the home by the local child welfare department.

Keith said he was grateful a neighbor called the sheriff's office. He encouraged anybody who ever suspects child abuse to do the same.
"We are grateful that this person was brave enough to call us and that our deputies were able to respond when they did," he said. "I don't even want to think about how this could have happened, how this could have played out, had our deputies not gotten there when they did."