Texas authorities are on the hunt for four suspects who allegedly broke into a home and tortured a 7-year-old boy in the hopes of finding a large amount of cash.
"They were looking for a pot of gold," Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Bob Haenel told Oxygen.com.
The home-invasion robbery took place early Monday morning in Richmond, a suburb of Houston. The father called deputies around 3 a.m.
He said three people in black masks broke through the front door and hit him, demanding money. A fourth waited outside in a car as a getaway driver. The suspects may have thought that because the father was a local small business owner he had a large amount of cash in the house, according to authorities.
The Sheriff's Office did not identify the victims.
The suspects held the family of four, including a mother and a 5-year-old child, for about 40 minutes, according to the Houston Chronicle. They pistol-whipped the father and cut open his head.
When he told them he didn't have any cash, they grabbed his 7-year-old-son and repeatedly dunked him in a bathtub full of hot water, torturing the young boy in the hopes of finding the loot.
They didn't get the big payday they were looking for, according to Haenel, but they did leave with jewelry, some cash and cellphones.
“This is the worst kind of crime against a family,” Sheriff Troy Nehls said in a release. “Three crooks forcing their way into a home in the middle of the night is appalling. To make matters worse, they accosted a 7-year-old child. They’re cowards, to say the least. Someone has information; give Crime Stoppers a call.”
The boy was taken to a local hospital and treated for water in his lungs.
Deputies released photos of the suspected assailants. One was wearing an Air Jordan hoodie with white letters spelling "Jordan" on the sleeves; another wore red sneakers that are believed to be Jordan's as well.
In one photo, a suspect is seen grabbing the boy. In another, a pistol is visible.
There's a Crime Stoppers reward of $25,000 for any information leading to an arrest.
[Photo: Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office]