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Three Abandoned Kids Found In Apartment With Skeletal Remains Of Their 9-Year-Old Brother

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez announced that three children have been living with the skeletal remains of their young brother, all while fending for themselves.

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7 Facts About Child Abuse and Prevention
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7 Facts About Child Abuse and Prevention

In 2016, an estimated 1,750 children died of abuse and neglect nationally.

Investigators in Texas have discovered that three abandoned children were living in an apartment complex with the skeletal remains of their 9-year-old brother for months.

“I’ve been in this business for a long time, and I had never heard a scenario like this,” Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez stated as he began his press conference on Sunday. “It really caught me by surprise.”

The children – all boys, ages 15, 10 and 7 – were discovered earlier that day at an apartment complex in Houston after the teen called the sheriff’s department to report his dead brother, CBS News reports. Skeletal remains, seemingly of their deceased brother, were also found inside the unit.

The oldest child told investigators that “his 9-yr-old brother had been dead for a year and his body was in the room next to his,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s department.

The younger siblings “appeared malnourished and showed signs of physical injury,” they noted.

All three were transported to a hospital to be assessed for their injuries. 

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez Pd

Investigators believe that the kids' parents haven’t lived in the unit for “several months.” The mother, as well as her boyfriend, were tracked down and interviewed. No charges have been filed as the investigation into the situation continues. The Harris County Sheriff Homicide Unit, Child Abuse Unit, and Crime Scene Unit are conducting the investigation. 

It’s still unclear who was paying the rent at the home, if anyone was, and what day-to-day life was like for the children. It's also unclear if they were attending school.

“I haven’t been told they were necessarily locked in, but at that age, it appears they were basically fending for each other,” Gonzalez said, according to local outlet KPRC.

A neighbor of the abandoned children told ABC 13 in Houston that she had complained for months about a horrible smell coming from their apartment. The woman, who has chosen to remain unidentified, told the outlet that the odor was sometimes so bad that she would turn off her air conditioner to halt the smell from coming in. She says she complained numerous times about the odor to the front office but nothing was done.

The children are now in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Gonzalez called the situation a “sinister circumstance” that has troubled the members of his force. He vowed to conduct a thorough investigation.

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