An unnamed 4-year-old boy in Houston has been rescued from abject squalor after he was discovered living in the closet of a meth house.
According to The Dallas Morning News, Harris County Precinct 5 Constable's Office searched a home in the West Memorial neighborhood after receiving a tip from a citizen regarding the production and selling of methamphetamine at the location. Police found "a substantial amount" of meth and marijuana inside the residence, which was described as having a "horrible" smell.
Drug and sex paraphernalia were discovered within feet of the closet where the rescued child reportedly slept. The child had been locked in the closet, often for hours at a time. He said that his "friends," the rats and roaches that also lived in the house, would come to visit him.
"Manufacturing and selling meth from your West Harris County home...illegal. Keeping your 4-year-old in the closet of that drug-infested home...even worse. If you do it in Precinct 5, you'll be hearing from our deputies. Fortunately, the child gets out of the situation with a new best friend," reads a Facebook post from The Office of Constable Ted Heap. Harris County Constable Pct. 5.
The boy said that when he attempted to sneak out of the closet, he would be punished by being forced to sit on top of the fridge. He told police he was scared that if he fell asleep, he would fall.
"The detail on this case is very awful," said Rachel Leal-Hudson, the boy's attorney. "This is a 4-year-old child who has seen things an adult should not have seen. [...] He can articulate some things that are really shocking and surprising that tell us he was in there for a quite a length of time."
Tests show that the child had been exposed to meth. The boy is now being placed into temporary Child Protective Services custody.
April Marie Burrier, the mother of the child, has been arrested. She was not home at the time the house was searched. She has been charged with endangering a child, possession with intent to deliver and possession of a controlled substance. It is unclear if she has an attorney who can speak on her behalf at this time.
Daniel Clark Morris III, who is the suspected dealer involved with the house, has not yet been arrested.
"The boy is in safe hands now but details of his living conditions, locked in a closet at times, are disturbing," the constable's office said on Facebook. "And his health is being monitored closely after doctors found cause for concern."
The boy's father is attempting to regain custody of the child in court. He left the child with the mother after Thanksgiving.
"I just want to get him back. I just want to get him back home," said Robert Dehart, who claims he had no idea about the situation his child was living in.