Authorities discovered three abandoned children living with the skeletal remains of their younger sibling in a Houston apartment.
On Oct. 24, a 15-year-old boy called the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and said his 9-year-old brother “had been dead for a year and his body was in the room next to his,” Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
Deputies responding to the third-floor apartment found the teenager and two boys under the age of 10 who “appeared malnourished and showed signs of physical injury” as well as the skeletal remains of a small child, Gonzalez said of the “heartbreaking” case.
The three surviving children were transported to an area hospital, where they were treated.
According to Gonzalez, investigators believe the children’s guardian or guardians had not been living in the apartment “for several months.”
On Oct. 24, law enforcement located the children’s mother and her boyfriend, and both were questioned and released, Gonzalez said the following day, NBC News reported.
The joint investigation between sheriff's office Homicide Unit, Child Abuse Unit, and Crime Scene Unit is ongoing.
“In our experience, it's always best to not speculate and just let the investigation take its course, but [it's] a very disturbing set of circumstances, so we definitely want some answers for these children,” Gonzalez noted.
A medical examiner will determine the deceased child’s cause of death.
“I have a 21-year-old and an 11-year-old and I can never imagine leaving them abandoned anywhere,” a mother living in the apartment complex told KHOU.