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Mother and boyfriend arrested after child’s skeletal remains were found in Texas apartment

A Texas mother and her boyfriend were charged Tuesday with the death of an 8-year-old whose skeletal remains were found in an apartment near Houston on Sunday, the Harris County Sheriff said.

Earlier on Tuesday, officials said the death of the child, whose remains were found in the apartment where three other children were staying, was a homicide.

Brian Coulter, 31, faces a murder charge and the boy’s mother, Gloria Williams, 35, faces charges of injuring a child through omission and tampering with evidence, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted in an update.

More details were not immediately available.

Coulter and Williams were in custody, the sheriff said. It was not immediately clear whether they had a lawyer. The sheriff said more charges should be filed.

The child died from a homicide with multiple blunt injuries, according to the county medical examiner’s office, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. A spokeswoman for the office said Tuesday afternoon that medical staff had not definitively identified the remains.

The discovery on Green Crest Drive in western Harris County was made Sunday afternoon after a 15-year-old boy called the sheriff’s office and said his 9-year-old brother died in the apartment for a year, the sheriff’s office said.

When deputies arrived, they found the “remains of a small child” and two other boys aged 10 and 7 in the house, the sheriff’s office said.

Gonzalez said the deceased child was 8 years old at the time of his death in 2020.

The teenager told the sheriff’s office that the parents had not lived in the apartment for “several months,” according to the agency.

The boys appeared to be malnourished, showed signs of physical injury and were taken to hospital, officials said.

Thomas Gilliland, spokesperson for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, said the circumstances surrounding the case and why the three boys had been living alone “at least since February” are still under investigation.

“They lived in these apartments and the rent was paid,” said Gilliland. “How it happened. What motive was behind them for living apart from their children… this is part of the investigation.

Gonzalez called the situation “heartbreaking.”

Melissa Lanford, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said in a statement Tuesday that the department “is looking for and obtained emergency custody” of the three boys found abandoned in the apartment.

“Child welfare services have a history with the family, but there was no active CPS investigation at the time the children were discovered alone in their apartment,” Lanford said.

NBC’s subsidiary, KPRC in Houston, reported that neighbors smelled a foul odor coming from the third-floor apartment where the children lived.

“It’s very shocking to me. Very shocking and sad – very sad,” neighbor Kayla Williams told KPRC. “My thing is, where are the parents?” And why would you want to leave your children behind?

KPRC also reported that Gonzalez said the children were given food and the rent for the apartment was paid. But who provided the rent and food for the children was unknown.

“At the sight, it looks like they’re living in pretty appalling conditions,” Gonzalez said. “It seems they were taking care, basically, were doing for each other.”

Elisha Fieldstadt contributed.

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