Authorities and neighbours were left horrified after the shocking discovery of three children who lived with the remains of their dead sibling for a year in an apartment complex at 3535 Green Crest, Houston.
Harris County officers discovered the gruesome sight around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, after the eldest of the children, a 15-year old, alerted the police about his nine-year-old brother being dead for a year. According to ABC 7 Chicago, he also called 911 to tell dispatchers that their parents have abandoned them for several months already.
Authorities arrived at the scene, near Addicks Clodine and Westpark Tollway, to discover skeletal remains consistent with what the teenager said. The body of the dead child was reportedly out in full display. It was not concealed or hidden with a cloth or anything.
Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the boy must have assumed the role of caretaker with their parents gone. He told reporters that the "oldest sibling was doing the best he could to take care of the others." There was reportedly no indication to tell that they were locked inside. But they seemingly had to fend for each other for "an extended period of time."
He said the teenager and his brothers, aged 10 and 7, were living in deplorable and "horrific" conditions. They appeared malnourished and had to be treated in the hospital. They are now under the county's custody.
"Very horrific situation out here, very tragic. I have been in this business a long time, and never heard of a scenario like this. It really caught me by surprise," Gonzalez told reporters during a briefing Sunday night.
"[We're] Connecting all the dots at this point, it appears [the kids] were in there while the body was deteriorating," he added.
Sheriff Gonzalez said they are still "trying to identify next of kin to determine exactly what happened and how" the situation got to that point. "We're going to make sure we conduct a thorough follow-up investigation," he added.
The case is still under preliminary investigation but the sheriff's office updated on Sunday night that the investigators have already tracked down the children's mother and her boyfriend. They have also been interviewed by law enforcement regarding the dead sibling and the living conditions of the three brothers.