A woman and her boyfriend were arrested Tuesday in the death of their 8-year-old son, whosewith three surviving but apparently abandoned siblings, officials said.
Brian W. Coulter, the 31-year-old boyfriend of the mother of the deceased child, was charged Tuesday with murder. The mother, Gloria Y. Williams, 35, has been charged with injuring a child by omission and tampering with evidence (human corpse), Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted Tuesday night.
Coulter is accused of killing the boy last year, reports CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV. They were initially questioned on Sunday evening and released, the station added.
Both were held in Harris County Jail without bail pending a court appearance. It was not immediately clear whether the two had lawyers. Gonzalez said other charges are possible.
The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston, which conducts all autopsies in the county, listed the leading cause of death as “homicidal violence with multiple blunt injuries.”
Institute spokesperson Michele Arnold said his agency could not provide further details.
Deputy Thomas Gilliland, a spokesperson for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, also said he could not immediately provide more information as his agency was still investigating the death.
One of the surviving siblings, a 15-year-old, called the sheriff’s department on Sunday and told authorities his brother had been dead for a year and the body was inside the apartment, according to the police.
MPs found the teenager and two other siblings, aged 10 and 7, living alone in the apartment, Gonzalez said. The 15-year-old told authorities his parents had not lived in the apartment for several months.
Gonzalez said it seemed like the surviving children were “getting along for each other”, with the older brother looking after the younger two.
The younger children appeared to be malnourished and had physical injuries, according to the sheriff’s office. All three siblings were taken to hospital and assessed and treated.
A judge on Monday granted the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services temporary custody of the three children.
Living situation of children highlighted
Their apartment had no electricity, Gilliland said.
Neighbors told KHOU that they were shocked to learn that the children lived alone. They said they knew the 15-year-old lived there but believed he lived there alone.
“There is no excuse for this. None at all,” Erica Chapman told KHOU. “When the inspections came … was that the only apartment you didn’t inspect?” What did they know? They never entered this apartment? “
Investigators were still trying to determine why no one in the apartment complex had noticed anything unusual, Gilliland said.
Highmark Residential, the property management company that manages the complex, did not immediately return a call for comment on Tuesday.
Chapman told KHOU that she had helped the boy.
“He was sleeping on the slide and I asked him if he was hungry. I brought him food and drink,” she said. “I woke him up. He was going to eat and then go home.”
Chapman said she sometimes drops food off at the apartment, but it was hard to tell what was going on inside.
Another neighbor said the 15-year-old would charge his phone in his apartment.
The children last attended school in May, said Craig Eichhorn, spokesperson for the Alief School District. They did not return for the 2020-2021 school year and school officials attempted an unsuccessful home visit in September 2020, Eichhorn said.
The district said it had repeatedly tried to contact the mother but was unable, KHOU reported, and the district said the mother had two cases of truancy against her involving two of the boys, l ‘one from 2019 and one from last year. Truancy cases were not enforced by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office during the pandemic.